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National Sawdust Announces Most Diverse Group Of Genre-Bending Residences, Curators, And Series To Date

National Sawdust, the nonprofit hub that serves as a dynamic home for composers and new music of all kinds, announces a first look at select programming and artists for the coming season. Featuring their largest and most diverse group of genre-bending residences, curators, and series to date, these artistic choices reflect a commitment to artists and audiences as the pioneering venue continues its mission to serve as a singular incubator for bold music and innovative voices.

The 2018-19 lineup will feature Projects-in-Residence by Julia Adolphe, Angélica Negrón, and Huang Ruo; Artists-in-Residence Innov Gnawa, L'Rain, and Gavin Rayna Russom; and the debut of AFROPUNK's Liberation Sessions series. American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) and composers Tania León and Daniel Bernard Roumain will join National Sawdust as curators. The full list of artists, curators, and series featured in the 2018-19 season will be announced in July.

"Our space, founded to support composers and musicians, is committed to providing essential mentorship, financial support, and a platform to share music through our residency program," says composer Paola Prestini, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, National Sawdust. "Our fourth season shines a light on artists using their voices in different ways, who are creating disruptive art that needs a nurturing home."

"Here in Brooklyn, we are at the heart of creative thinking and engagement, and our programming reflects these ideals across a spectrum that resists genre and traditional barriers," says Courtenay Casey, Executive Director, National Sawdust. "Our collaborations can range from AMOC to AFROPUNK, and from our neighbors at the groundbreaking El Puente Leaders for Peace and Justice to the storied Festival d'Aix-En-Provence, creating a rich tapestry of artistic voices with which our audiences can engage."

National Sawdust Projects-in-Residence

The National Sawdust Projects-In-Residence program formally begins with the 2018-19 season and will help artists and groups actualize a concept or further explore a burgeoning piece currently in development.

With A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears, composer of notable choral, orchestral, operatic, chamber, and art song pieces Julia Adolphe and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann adapt Jules Feiffer's loopy fairytale about Izzy, a young royal, doomed to make everyone around her laugh so hard that nothing gets done in her presence into an opera for audiences of all ages. The quest Izzy undertakes to cure her affliction takes her on a journey that tests notions of friendship, identity, and love while also challenging conventional gender roles and their relationships to the standard archetypes found in fables.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón will develop her chamber opera Chimera, featuring seven different drag performers - including RuPaul's Drag Race season 9 contestant Alexis Michelle - playing the same role, personifying the different sides of a single identity. Chimera explores the ideas of fantasy and illusion as well as the intricacies and complexities of identity.

To break down the barriers between the audience and performers while examining the theme or borders, composer Huang Ruo's Resonant Theatre: The Sonic Great Wall is a sonic, spatial, visual, and audience-interactive project inspired by the Great Wall of China. This innovative project, part of the FERUS festival, will be performed by the Amsterdam-based Asko/Schoenberg Ensemble and aims to use new music, created live on various connecting spots forming the Great Wall in miniature to reach, connect, and engage audiences.

National Sawdust Curators

The vibrant programs of American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) bridge theory and practice, creating a deep context from which to listen to stories, ideas, and music of the past. One concert will feature AMOC artists Keir GoGwilt (violin), Coleman Itzkoff (cello), and Conor Hanick (piano). Pieces will include Its Own Accord, written for GoGwilt by AMOC Co-Artistic Director Matthew Aucoin and premiered at Dumbarton Oaks in 2017, and Celeste Oram's Sanz cuer / Amis, dolens / Dame, par vous (2016), a work which takes Guillaume de Machaut's ballade of the same name and uses it to explore the permeability of music between the sacred and the mundane, the virtual and the real, the performative and the every-day.

Renowned for defying the conventions of genre by seamlessly blending contemporary classical music with Latin American and multi cultural influences, Cuban-born and award-winning composer Tania León, whose works span cultural boundaries by fusing and mixing genres together, will host concerts of her own music and bring emerging Latina composers and artists to National Sawdust.

As a curator, Daniel Bernard Roumain - perhaps the only composer whose collaborations traverse the worlds of Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover, and Lady Gaga - will perform and program performances at National Sawdust that highlight inclusivity and community by creating spaces for discourse. Roumain will also present a new series, EN MASSE: National Sawdust, where a variety of creative programing may include a master class on DBR's brand of violin playing that will end with a film screening for Brooklyn's aspiring string players; a curated group of musicians performing his Hip Hop Studies and Etudes paired with local poets and spoken-word artists from all over New York City; a two-day composers camp, for new composers aged 5 to 95, who have never composed before; and more. Additionally, Roumain will mentor students from Arizona State University's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, where he is an Institute Professor and Professor of Practice, through his DBR LABspace program, a Project Based Learning experience that is conceptually developed and designed entirely by the student under Roumain's mentorship. Selected projects will be co-developed and presented at National Sawdust.

National Sawdust Curators are celebrated master artists from across musical genres who program their own work as well as artists they admire. Curators program several evenings throughout the year, generously using their own success to build audiences for emerging or undiscovered artists.

National Sawdust Artists-in-Residence

The 2018-19 season class of Artists-In-Residence includes Innov Gnawa, who will create a contemporized gnawa ritual. Historically, gnawa music is the ritual trance music of formerly enslaved black Africans who were assimilated into Moroccan culture. Its raw, hypnotic power has fascinated outsiders as diverse as writer/composer Paul Bowles, jazz giant Randy Weston, and rock god Jimi Hendrix. Innov Gnawa's modernized compositions promise more trance music, expanded droning, and heavier vocals than the traditional forms. The group will also, for the first time in history, record the rare Jewish repertoire of gnawa music. The attention-grabbing, up-and-coming composer and multi-instrumentalist L'Rain will utilize the incubation process to establish a band and advance her artistic vision before embarking on her first major tour. Gavin Rayna Russom will build upon her innovative work as a solo artist during the residency, beyond her work with LCD Soundsystem, with a new multimedia production using analog and digital synthesizers, video, and dance.

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