Performance Response: Ariodante Workshop at National Sawdust

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I am on my way to see a workshop of a "new performing edition" of Handel’s four-hour opera Ariodante, the vision of director R. B. Schlather and musical director Geoffrey McDonald. I am nervous and slightly cynical about what “new” means to an opera composed in 1734, and how contemporary rhetoric keeps sending the message that opera is dead and everyone needs to bring it back to life. Am I going to another post-modern memorial service?

Another Brooklyn: Reflections on Race, Response, and Reconcilation

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When Jacqueline Woodson, a writer of beautiful and arresting works, agreed to host and curate a National Sawdust+ program – quickly tapping her “dream team” Toshi Reagon and Carl Hancock Rux to join her – I knew we were in for a powerful evening. But I had no idea it would prove so provocative an experience, eliciting reactions from the audience that ranged from deep sadness to tremendous inspiration on that cold December night.

Wadada Leo Smith and Vijay Iyer: In Search of Cosmic Rhythm

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A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, released on ECM in March 2016, is the rare improvisational piece with a title that clues the listener into its inner workings. In this series of journeying duets, pianist Vijay Iyer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith seek out and magnify aspects of cosmic rhythm, one phrase (and, often, one patient single note) at a time.

Attacca Quartet and Caroline Shaw: Getting to Know You

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The Attacca Quartet, soon to launch its new "Recently Added" concert series with a program devoted to music by Caroline Shaw, chats with Shaw about her development and process.

Christopher Cerrone: Understanding and Empathy Through Poetry

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As far back as I can remember, music has always been my means of navigating the world. But words have always been a second and equal love. In the past month, I’ve turned extensively to words I love after a baffling election.

Tim Berne: Playing with David Torn, Working with ECM

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Seasoned saxophonist, composer and bandleader Tim Berne talked about his long creative partnership with guitarist David Torn and his burgeoning relationship with ECM Records, under whose banner Sun of Goldfinger (featuring Berne and Torn) plays National Sawdust Dec. 3.

What is an Ondioline?

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Unless you’re already an expert in early electrical instrumentation, you may not yet know what to expect from the Ondioline Orchestra concert at National Sawdust Nov. 22. Here are five quick things you'll want to know about the rise, fall, and revival of this historic instrument.

Gotye's tribute to Jean-Jacques Perrey

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Walter De Backer, better known as Gotye, pays homage to the late French music maverick Jean-Jacques Perrey, whose music will be featured in the debut performance by Ondioline Orchestra on Nov. 22 at National Sawdust.

Christopher Rountree: What is Los Angeles?

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"it’s somewhere where most of my meetings take place eating a coconut popsicle, walking around a lake, with dozens of people in pedal boats on it, during winter." We asked conductor, composer, and wild Up founder Christopher Rountree to explain the funky new magic of Los Angeles; in response, he waxed poetic.

Roger Bonair-Agard: Where Brooklyn At?

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A celebrated poet and writer in residence at National Sawdust, Roger Bonair-Agard has published three full-length collections of poetry, and celebrates the arrival of his fourth, Where Brooklyn At?, on Nov. 10 at National Sawdust – read an exclusive preview here. On Nov. 10, Bonair-Agard will celebrate the arrival of his newest book, Where Brooklyn At? (Willow Books/Aquarius Press, 2016), with a reading at National Sawdust presented in collaboration with The Baldwin Protocols, an arts-based intervention and reading series that he created. To mark the occasion, and with his blessing, we're proud to share some of the poems included in the new book.