Brooklyn Music Venue National Sawdust Releases Complete Lineup for Inaugural Season

Composer Paola Prestini, the Creative and Executive Director of National Sawdust (NS), today announced programming for the non-profit's inaugural fall season in its new home-a $16 million, 13,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art chamber hall in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The performance and recording venue, designed by Brooklyn-based architecture firm Bureau V in the shell of century-old former sawdust factory, will provide composers and musicians a setting in which they can flourish, and a place where they are given commissioning support, mentoring and other critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work. For audiences-serious fans and casual listeners alike-the venue will be a place to discover genre-spanning music at accessible ticket prices.

Artists will lead NS, in addition to benefitting from it. Prestini has assembled a diversity of world-class artists and composers to work with her in curating the space. She explains, "National Sawdust is a home for curious artists and listeners, and in our inaugural season, we are offering a vast range of new music created and discovered by our curators. Our hope is to create an inclusive home where artists and audiences can learn, explore and listen creatively. I want to give other composers and artists the kinds of opportunities that would have helped me when I was an emerging artist in my 20s. I believe that by giving artists the reins to program the space and by lending support to their projects in the early phases of development we will make a unique contribution to New York City's musical ecosystem."

Programming Highlights

Please see below for a detailed show-by-show lineup.

Opening night (October 1) will showcase the venue's acoustics, with performances by advisory board member Nico Muhly; curators Theo Bleckmann and Jeffrey Zeigler; group-in-residence American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME); and special guests including Bryce Dessner, Stephen Gosling, Cibo Matto, Nadia Sirota and Chris Thile.

Among the NS curators sharing their favorite artists with the venue's audiences this season are Mexican jazz singer Magos Herrera, who brings to the venue the great Spanish guitarist and producer Javier Limón for an October 15performance with her and a global array of other artists, including the seminal Argentinean rock singer-songwriter Fito Paez, in support of the United Nations "He for She" campaign for gender equality. Herrera has also invited acclaimed musician and composer Oran Etkin to present his pioneering children's music education program Timbaloolo, on October 18; and the Elio Villafranca Quintet, which will perform music by Chick Corea on November 5.

The composer David T. Little brings his ensemble, Newspeak, to join NS partner the Choir of Trinity Wall Street for the U.S. premiere of Tim Brady's Symphony No. 3 on October 29; and curates a night (December 16) of the Winterreisefestival NS presents this season. Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler brings the HKZ Trio, his collaboration with pianist Hauschkaand percussionist Samuli Kosminen, on October 28; and presents a concert by jazz trumpeter John Korsrud and the Eco-Music Big Band on November 6. Percussionist Ian Rosenbaum presents violinist Kristin Lee in concert with "hacked theremin" player Jakub Ciupinski on November 5. Composer Anna Clyne curates a Words and Music event in which violinist Keir GoGwilt and composer Matthew Aucoin will offer works that blur the boundary between music and poetry, on December 10.

Several NS curators will perform in the inaugural season, including Helga Davis, Simone Dinnerstein, Rinde Eckert, Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray, Magos Herrera, Julian Crouch & Saskia Lane, Mark Stewart, and Jeffrey Zeigler, in addition to Theo Bleckmann.

The fall season features two works commissioned by the venue: Alicia Hall Moran's The Five Fans, which combines various musical styles and will unfold over five evenings beginning October 19; and Persona, which Beth Morrison Projects, a NS group-in-residence, is producing and co-commissioned with the venue. Persona, adapted by acclaimed opera and theater director Jay Scheib from the Ingmar Bergman screenplay, features composition by Keeril Makanand music direction by Evan Ziporyn. Performances will take place October 23 & 24.

The opening month also includes festivals of work NS advisory board member Terry Riley, celebrating his 80th birthday year (October 3-5); and John Zorn (October 9 & 10 and 30 & 31).

NS will award residencies to several artists and groups each season. One of these, the Trinidadian poet Roger Bonair Agard, will perform in the opening ceremony on October 1. Composer, drummer and Wilco member Glenn Kotchewill create an installation as part of a Community Day taking place October 4. The Norwegian string orchestra 1b1, an inaugural season group-in-residence, will feature works from the Oscar-winning Italian film The Great Beauty, on November 13, joined by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. Alicia Hall Moran is developing her National Sawdust-commissioned work The Five Fans in a residency at the venue. Johnny Gandelsman, of group-in-residence Brooklyn Rider, continues his exploration of Bach's solo works in a concert on October 25.

NS will also serve as a place for a broad spectrum of partner companies, organizations and festivals to foster the development of new works and innovative programs. VisionIntoArt will be National Sawdust's resident multimedia company, focusing on the development of interdisciplinary work and mentorship of collaborative process. The Choir of Trinity Wall Street makes several appearances this season. American Composers Orchestra (ACO) will co-present two events on October 17 as part of SONiC (Sounds of a New Century), its citywide festival of 21st century music by composers age 40 and under. The New York Philharmonic extends the reach of its new music series CONTACT! to Brooklyn by presenting three events at National Sawdust in 2015-16, beginning with "Young Americans," a program including works by Adam Schoenberg, Nathan Heidelberger, Caroline Mallonée and Kate Soper. (Esa-Pekka Salonenhosts the second and third concerts, in February and March 2016.) NS partners with The New Museum's NEW INCon Afripedia (November 14 & 15), a new film/music series exploring creativity in an evolving Africa. Other partners include Kickstarter and BOMB.

Details for National Sawdust +, a series of conversations and concerts created by Elena Park, will be announced soon. The Directors' Series and The Writers' Series will give leading artists, from prominent British auteur Richard Eyre to innovative American director Michael Mayer, a platform to share their musical passions with the Williamsburg audience; they will curate and host concerts that showcase works they love and musicians they admire. National Sawdust Talks, on Sunday afternoons, will bring together artists and thinkers in surprising conversations.

The Building

Bureau V's design maintains the historic brick exterior of the former sawdust factory while providing a new interior that combines the crafted sensibility of an historic European concert hall and the flexibility of a contemporary, dynamic performance space. The venue can accommodate 120-170 seated patrons or 350 standing guests for performances and a 70-piece orchestra for rehearsals and recordings. NS will house two bars and a restaurant featuring James Beard Award-winning chef Patrick Connolly.

The venue's acoustic design, by Arup, will accommodate a range of repertoire. NS has the optimum balance of sound absorbing, diffusing, and reflecting finishes for an enriched acoustic experience. The entire building is connected via audio, video, and data tie lines. This point-to-point infrastructure allows an engineer to be situated in either the sound and light control room or the production room and record artists in all the interior spaces.

Bureau V founding principal Peter Zuspan, who is also a member of the NS board and will have a continuing curatorial role, said, "I know of no institution that supports new artists as completely as National Sawdust. When Kevin Dolan hired Bureau V, he trusted a team of young designers who have never built a building. We are thrilled to see National Sawdust open its doors and provide a platform to countless other emerging artists."

The Creation of National Sawdust (Formerly Original Music Workshop)

National Sawdust's founder is Kevin Dolan, a tax attorney and amateur musician and composer who wanted to create a non-profit venue offering substantial support to a wide range of composers and musicians, and to emerging talents in particular. He purchased the property for this purpose in 2009. Of the $16 million needed to construct National Sawdust, Dolan contributed an initial amount for building acquisition, design and reconstruction of the core and shell of the building. To raise the balance for the interior build-out, he appealed to others to join him as Philanthropic Investors. In exchange for their investment, the Philanthropic Investors co-own the building, provide National Sawdust rent-free use of the space, actively nurture the non-profit and, after a period of years, will either choose to contribute their interest in the building to National Sawdust or sell their interest to National Sawdust or the other investors at a pre-determined yield.

Of National Sawdust's inaugural season, Dolan says, "All of this wonderful programming goes to the core of our mission: to support these artists and other artists who will follow-particularly emerging ones-not only by programming them but also by providing them a facility for rehearsal and recording and, as Paola says, discovery. We are also helping to develop a new generation of enthusiastic patrons who will experience their own form of discovery in a space with a unique complement of acoustics and aesthetics."

Composer Paola Prestini, NS Creative and Executive Director

Composer, multimedia artist and entrepreneur Paola Prestini is "the enterprising composer and impresario" (New York Times) and "visionary-in-chief" (Time Out New York) of VisionIntoArt, the non-profit multimedia production company dedicated to fostering collaborative, interdisciplinary new music. Prestini has been commissioned by the BAM Next Wave Festival, Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic and the Kronos Quartet. Her work has been presented by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and London's Barbican Centre. She has collaborated with stage designers, puppeteers, astrophysicists, conservationists, musicians, dancers, singers and more. She has been awarded residencies at the Park Avenue Armory, The Watermill Center and Sundance Institute. Prestini started VisionIntoArt in 2001 while a student at the Juilliard School, where she was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. Since then, the company has provided comprehensive support-from fundraising and commissioning to incubation and performances-for more than 100 original productions. She launched VIA Records in 2014. She is the founding director of National Sawdust, a new space for emerging artists in Brooklyn, NY lsated to open October 1.

2015-16 is a banner season for Prestini. The Young People's Chorus of New York City will perform the world premiere of Epiphany: The Cycle of Life, which Prestini composed and which VIA is co-producing with the Young People's Chorus, November 4-7 in BAM's 2015 Next Wave Festival. On March 5 & 6, 2016, Aging Magician, which Prestini co-created with Rinde Eckert, and Julian Crouch and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, makes its world premiere at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The Los Angeles Philharmonic will present 21c Liederabend, the art song festival Prestini created, directs and curates with Beth Morrison, on April 19, 2016, at Walt Disney Hall; the lineup features the world premiere of a new Prestini composition. The Colorado, a new film/eco-cantata premieres at Houston's Da Camera and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; her new opera, Gilgamesh, directed by Michael Counts, begins development at the New England Conservatory for a Arts Emerson and Boston Celebrity Series premiere, and Old Man and the Sea, a new work with Robert Wilson, begins development for Opera Australia at the Watermill Center.

Ticketing and Membership

Tickets go on sale to the general public on August 17 at and 646-779-8455. A $5 charge will be added to tickets purchased at the door. Memberships will be available beginning November 1. National Sawdust members get priority access to tickets, members-only prices and unique access to artists through open rehearsals and special events.

Opening Month Programming in Detail

Opening Ceremony
October 1 at 10am; free

The NS ribbon-cutting event will feature performances with Grammy-nominated vocalist Theo Bleckmann, a NS curator, and poet Roger Bonair-Agard, a NS artist-in residence. Eli Sudbrack of Assume Vivid Astro Focus, the duo that created the mural on the venue's exterior, is creating the ribbon.

Opening Night Concert
October 1 at 7:30pm & 11pm; $60 early set / $100 late set

At 7:30pm, members of the NS family of artists come together for an evening that showcases the acoustics of the new hall. Curator Theo Bleckmann will be joined by ACME, one of the venue's groups-in-residence, and Jacob Cooper, in a new work commissioned by the venue. Other collaborations will include Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly, a National Sawdust advisory board member, with Nadia Sirota; and National Sawdust curator Jeffrey Zeigler with Tanya Tagaq. Stephen Gosling will perform music by Paola Prestini. Chris Thile will perform solo. The evening's second set, at 11pm, will feature Cibo Matto, one of the most beloved and innovative bands of the 1990s, with a special guest, performing material from Cibo Matto's acclaimed recent album Hotel Valentine, their first in 15 years. Curators Jeffrey Zeigler and Andy Akiho, with artist-in-residence Roger Bonair-Agard, will open for Cibo Matto.

National Sawdust Film/Music Series
Tanya Tagaq
Nanook of the North
October 2 at 8pm; $40

The award-winning Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, whom Rolling Stone named among the "Artists You Need to Know in 2015," performs a live score, created with composer Derek Charke, to the 1922 silent film Nanook of the North. Joined by percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot, Tagaq reclaims the film's images of life in an early 20th century Inuit community in Northern Quebec. Tagaq employs exquisite improvisations with traditions roots, a style she has perfected over a decade of performances on major stages worldwide and through collaborations with Björk, Mike Patton and many more.

Leo Genovese
Legal Aliens
October 2 at 10pm; $25

Pianist and keyboardist Leo Genovese will present Legal Aliens, a new set of compositions for large ensemble modeled after the rich melodic and rhythmic traditions Genovese has studied in his world travels, including the Balkans, Brazil, Morocco and his native Argentina. He is a leading figure in Brooklyn's improvised music scene; his music has connected with musicians and cultures around the world, including Esperanza Spalding, Foday Musa Suso, Milton Nascimento, Jack DeJohnette and many others.

Terry Riley and Gyan Riley Festival
October 3-5; prices and times vary

For the National Sawdust opening weekend, in celebration of NS advisory board member Terry Riley's 80th birthday, Matmos, John Zorn and Roomful of Teeth, along with Riley's son, the virtuoso guitarist Gyan Riley, will perform a range of the iconic composer's music.

  • October 3 at 8pm & 10pm; $40
    Terry Riley, on vocals, piano and synthesizer, performs with Gyan Riley on classical and electric guitars.
  • October 4 at 7pm; $25
    Terry Riley's Abbeyozzud and Beyond with Gyan Riley, Zach Brock (violin), David Cossin (percussion), Travis Laplante (saxophone), Matmos (electronics), Benjamin Verdery and guitarists from the Yale School of Music, and Evan Ziporyn (saxophone).
  • October 4 at 9pm; $25
    Terry Riley's Abbeyozzud and Beyond with Gyan Riley, Zach Brock (violin), David Cossin (percussion), Travis Laplante (saxophone), Matmos (electronics) and Evan Ziporyn (saxophone) will perform Thanks Isn't Enough, Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band, Tread on the Trail and Hashish Master.
  • October 5 at 7pm; $35
    Roomful of Teeth will perform the world premiere of Riley's Remember This, Oh Mind and another piece he wrote expressly for the group. A cello octet led by Jeffrey Zeigler will perform Riley's seminal ArchAngels.
  • October 5 at 9pm; $40
    Terry and Gyan Riley perform with John Zorn

Community Day
October 4 from 11am-6pm; Free

Experimental Australian violinist Jon Rose engages the public with a ten-foot-tall, interactive electronic musical instrument. Via sensors and radio transmission, the movements and speed of the ball determine the sonic results. In partnership with D'Addario, composer and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche, a NS artist-in-residence, will create an installation in a new work with kids from the Williamsburg-Based El Puente Center for Arts and Culture, a NS partner. Puppeteer/designer/director Julian Crouch and musician/composer Saskia Lane, who are NS curators, will perform a preview their new work Birdheart in a workshop for kids, then will join forces with Asphalt Orchestra in interactive puppet parade to the East River. NS group-in-residence Found Sound Nation, a collective of musicians and artists who leverage the unique power of creative sound-making to help build strong, just, healthy communities, will hold mobile studios throughout the parade for the public.

Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Black Sea Hotel
October 6 at 7pm; $25

Brooklyn Youth Chorus performs music by composer, multi-instrumentalist Arcade Fire member and National Sawdust curator Richard Reed Parry, composer Paola Prestini and 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw, and a world premiere by Sarah Small of Delirium Construction. Joining the Chorus will be the a cappella trio Black Sea Hotel and Ellis Ludwig Leone, bandleader and composer for San Fermin.

Julian Crouch, Saskia Lane and Friends
Birdheart (World Premiere)
Commissioned by VisionIntoArt
October 8, 11, 14 at 7pm; $25

Following the success of their The Devil and Mister Punch, designer-director Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter, Satyagraha, Hedwig and the Angry Inch) and musician Saskia Lane, who are National Sawdust curators, rejoin forces to unfold a story initially inspired by Chris Jordan's stunning images, of albatross remains filled with plastic detritus in the Midway Atoll. The performance will feature two other NS curators: cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and Mark Stewart (Bang on a Can, Paul Simon).

Punch Brothers
October 8 at 9 pm; $40

Punch Brothers are the acoustic quintet of mandolinist Chris Thile, guitarist Chris Eldridge, bassist Paul Kowert, banjoist Noam Pikelny and violinist Gabe Witcher. The Washington Post says, "With enthusiasm and experimentation, Punch Brothers take bluegrass to its next evolutionary stage, drawing equal inspiration from the brain and the heart." The group's latest album, The Phosphorescent Blues, was produced by T Bone Burnett and released in January 2015 by Nonesuch Records.

John Zorn Festival
October 9-10, times vary; $25/set

  • October 9 at 8pm
    Madrigals Books I-II (World Premiere)
    Vocalists Lisa Bielawa, Jane Sheldon, Sarah Brailey, Mellissa Hughes, Rachel Calloway and Kristen Sollek perform this world premiere.
  • October 9 at 10pm
    Asmodeus, featuring Marc Ribot (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass) and Tyshawn Sorey (drums)
  • October 10 at 8pm
    Improvisation featuring John Zorn (saxophone), Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet) and Milford Graves (drums)
  • October 10 at 10pm
    Cobra featuring Mark Feldman (violin), Okkyung Lee (cello), Jeffrey Zeigler (cello), Ikue Mori (electronics), Sylvie Courvoiser (piano), Brian Marsella (keyboards), Eyal Maoz (guitar), Marc Ribot (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Ches Smith (drums/vibes), Kenny Wollesen (drums/vibes) and John Zorn (prompter)

Strings & Borders
October 10 at 12am; $25

Brooklyn-based/Russian-born composer, producer and performer Olga Bell plays Strings & Borders to celebrate the release of her upcoming EP Incitation-out October 16 on One Little Indian-which Noisey calls "magical" and about which Nowness says, "The mind-bending processed beats...serve as a perfect platform for Bell's remarkable voice, mirroring the unflinching, self-analyzing lyrics." National Sawdust curator and Pitchfork editor Brandon Stosuy and Robin Carolan, founder of the Tri Angle record label, will collaborate with the group through DJ sets.

Emel Mathlouthi
October 12 at 7pm; $25

Firebrand Tunisian composer, songwriter and singer Emel Mathlouthi is one of the great divas of the Arab World. She gained widespread attention when her song "Kelmti Horra (My Word is Free)" became an anthem of the Arab Spring revolutionaries. Her intricate sound moves between rock and electronica, with strong Arabic and North African connections and Western influences ranging from Joan Baez to Björk.

Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray and Helga Davis
October 13 at 7pm; $25

East New York-born choreographer Reggie "Regg Roc" Gray-pioneer of the flex form and creator, with Peter Sellars, of the acclaimed work Flexn, recently seen at the Park Avenue Armory-collaborates with fellow NS curator, vocalist and performance artist Helga Davis (Einstein on the Beach) on a new edition of D.R.E.A.M (Dance Rules Everything Around Me), the dance competition Gray founded.

Magos Herrera & Javier Limón
October 15 at 7pm & 9pm; $40

Magos & Limón is a new collaboration between Mexican-born jazz singer and NS curator Magos Herrera and Spanish guitarist-producer Javier Limón. In this evening to support "He for She," the United Nations campaign for gender equality, they will perform with an extraordinary group of musicians including iconic Argentinean rock singer-songwriter Fito Paez, Colombian ballenato luminary Chabuco, Mexican vocalist Eugenia Leon, Swiss jazz harmonica player Grégoire Maret and Israeli composer-clarinetist Oran Etkin.

Yuka Honda & Nels Cline
October 16 at 8pm, $25

Yuka Honda, best known as the co-founder of the experimental rock band Cibo Matto, joins forces with guitarist Nels Cline, whom Rolling Stone called a "Guitar God" on their 2011 list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, for this special one hour event.

Cole Ramstad and Friends
October 16 at 10pm; $25

A fixture of the New York underground music scene, Cole Ramstad, frontman of the band Chinatown, has made his mark with energetic performances that often feature a range of unique guest artists. In 2009, he created Happy Mondays at Apotheke, one of NYC's longest-running weekly parties, where he and his band play a mixture of soul, R&B and jazz. Joining him will be his friend Nick Paul, whose group St. Lucia wowed audiences at the Coachella music festival this year.

SONiC: Sounds of a New Century
Produced by American Composers Orchestra
October 17 at 7:30pm &10pm; $30 & $25

Heralded in its inaugural edition in 2011 as "a brilliant and unpretentious showcase for music in the new millennium" (The Guardian), SONiC (Sounds of a New Century), produced by NS partner American Composers Orchestra, is a festival of 21st century music by composers age 40 and under. SONiC returns, with concerts in venues across the city, October 15 - 23.

NS will host two events on October 17. At 7:30pm, the Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth will perform a program including the New York premiere of a new work by Ted Hearne, plus Missy Mazzoli's Vesper Sparrow, William Brittelle's High Done No Why and Amid the Minotaurs, Eric Dudley's Suonare/to sound and Caleb Burhans' No and Beneath.

At 10pm, NS will host a SONiC AfterHours event, Visualizing Music: Composers & Video Artists, featuring the world premiere of Memory Palace, with music by Christopher Cerrone and film by Mark DeChiazza; Listen, Quiet, with Paola Prestini's music performed by cellist Jeffrey Zeigler and a percussionist TBA, and film projections by S. Katy Tucker; and the world premiere of a new work by composer-pianist Bora Yoon and multimedia artist Joshua Ott.

More information is available at

Low City and Hessismore
October 17 at midnight; $15

Low City is the brainchild of producer/engineer Abe Seiferth (Yeasayer, Turing Machine) and Jeremy Turner (cellist and composer, NS Board Member) inspired by a lost future, the 1939 World's Fair, films like Metropolis and Gattaca, and the writings of J.G. Ballard.

Hessismore (NS group-in-residence) is comprised of eight musicians who, with their unique instrumentation and unorthodox arrangements create a very danceable yet at times puzzling concert. Catchy melodies and chant-like lyrics that can haunt you for days.

Oran Etkin
Jazz for Kids: Timbaloolo
Curated by Magos Herrera
October 18 at 12pm; $15

Developed by internationally acclaimed musician and composer Oran Etkin, Timbaloolo is a revolutionary new approach of teaching music to young children. Etkin's award-winning children's album Wake Up, Clarinet! and Timbaloolo live concerts educate children to bring their instruments to life rather than just playing notes as instructed. Timbaloolo's fans include Naomi Watts & Liev Schreiber, Edie Falco, Ken Burns and Harvey Keitel, all of whom have enrolled their children in weekly Timbaloolo classes.

Alessio Bax
October 18 at 3pm; $25

Italian classical pianist Alessio Bax has garnered international acclaim for his lyrical playing, insightful interpretations and dazzling facility. Gramophone says, "His playing quivers with an almost hypnotic intensity," and The Dallas Morning News has described it as "an out-of-body experience." First Prize-winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu International Piano Competitions, and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient, Bax has appeared as soloist with over 100 orchestras, including the London and Royal Philharmonic orchestras, the Dallas and Houston symphonies, the NHK Symphony in Japan, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic with Yuri Temirkanov, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Sir Simon Rattle. He comes to NS for a performance celebrating the release of his new album.

Michael Leviton
The Tell
October 18 at 9pm; $15

Michael Leviton is a writer, musician and photographer. He has told stories on "This American Life," written for The New York Times column "Modern Love," contributed music to HBO's "Bored To Death," and authored more than twenty illustrated books for children, most notably My First Ghost (Disney/Hyperion, 2012), a guide to being friends with ghosts. For The Tell, he invites his favorite raconteurs to tell their best stories with musical accompaniment.

Alicia Hall Moran (NS Artist-in-Residence)
The Five Fans
Commissioned by NS
October 19 at 8pm; $35

The Five Fans, a new work by National Sawdust artist-in-residence Alicia Hall Moran (Porgy and Bess), blends classical & pop, world music & Americana and will unfold over the course of five concerts at the venue. The series begins October 19 with Flower Face, featuring the Japanese drum uchiwadaiko, followed by Black Wall Street, a collaboration with classical Indian musicians, on January 12, 2016.

Imogene Strauss Presents: Majical Cloudz
October 21 at 9pm; $15
In 2013, the Canadian musical-performance art project Majical Cloudz released Impersonator via touchstone indie label Matador, garnering praise from tastemaker and mainstream media as one of the year's best and most notable albums. Since then, principle writer and vocalist Devon Welsh has been fastidiously crafting the band's second studio album, Are You Alone?, which they'll release on October 16.

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble featuring Theo Bleckmann
Rain and Grace
October 22 at 8pm; $40

Grammy-nominated vocalist and NS curator Theo Bleckmann joins the two-time Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble for an evening of experimental jazz. From cathartic sonic textures to pensive melodies, the divergent paths taken by the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble converge onto a powerful, emotional bed of sound. The 18-piece group will be playing new commissions based on a Shakespeare sonnet, a Mondrian painting and a recording of rain, plus arrangements of works by Jimmy Webb, Cyndi Lauper and Kenny Wheeler, along with selected favorites from several of John Hollenbeck's six large ensemble recordings.

Beth Morrison Projects
Persona (World Premiere)
Music by Keeril Makan
Libretto adapted by Jay Scheib from the Ingmar Bergman screenplay
Direction by Jay Scheib
Co-commissioned by National Sawdust and Beth Morrison Projects
October 23 & 24 at 8pm; $25

Beth Morrison Projects (a NS group-in-residence) is the producer of this new work, which it co-commissioned with the venue. Composed by Rome Prize-winner Keeril Makan, with music direction by Evan Ziporyn and a libretto and direction by Jay Scheib, one of American Theater's "Top 25 Directors Likely to Shape American Performance Over the Next 25 Years," Persona is a provocative, highly cerebral, and artistically complex depiction of human frailty, cruelty and identity. Persona is funded, in part, by an award from The National Endowment for the Arts - Art Works.

Music Selections from Persona Creators
Beth Morrison Projects
October 23-24 at 10pm; $15

Persona creators Evan Ziporyn, and Keeril Makan curate two hour long concerts-one to follow each night's performance of the work.

Johnny Gandelsman
October 25 at 7pm; $25

Violinist Johnny Gandelsman, of National Sawdust group-in-residence Brooklyn Rider, continues his exploration of Bach's solo works with selections of sonatas and partitas.

Two Nights with Open G Records
October 26-27 at 7pm; $25

Open G Records, founded by the clarinetist Chris Grymes, is committed to producing music that is rooted in the classical tradition, but brings artists and their fans together in new and innovative ways.

Both of these nights at NS will feature the Pierre Boulez landmark Dialogue de L'ombre double, performed by Scott Andrews, principal clarinet player of the St. Louis Symphony, and live-engineered by Adam Abeshouse. Also performing in these concerts will be label artists including Grymes, Xiao-Dong Wang (violin) and Xak Bjerken (piano), playing works by Steve Reich, Steven Stucky and Mario Davidovsky.

HKZ Trio (Hauschka, Samuli Kosminen, and Jeffrey Zeigler)
October 28 at 7-9pm; $35

This new trio comprises three celebrated experimentalists: pianist Hauschka (aka Volker Bertelmann), percussionist Samuli Kosminen, and cellist and National Sawdust curator Jeffrey Zeigler. They will perform two sets combining electronic and acoustic sounds.

Newspeak with Choir of Trinity Wall Street
Tim Brady's Symphony No. 3 (U.S. Premiere)
October 29 at 8pm; $40

Comprised of violinist/composer Caleb Burhans, composer/drummer David T. Little, singer Mellissa Hughes, clarinetist Eileen Mack, guitarist Taylor Levine, cellist Brian Snow, pianist James Johnston and percussionist Peter Wise, the "punk classical" group Newspeak has performed in the Tune-In Festival at the Park Avenue Armory, as well as at the Ecstatic Music Festival, the MATA Festival and John Zorn's Full Force festival. At National Sawdust they will join the Choir of Trinity Wall Street to perform the U.S. premiere of Tim Brady's Symphony No. 3, conducted by Julian Wachner.

John Zorn's Extended Halloween Weekend
October 30-31 times vary; $25 advance / $30 door
Special offer: October 30 at 10pm + midnight concert for $45

  • October 30 at 8pm
    Complete Music for Solo Piano, with Stephen Gosling (solo piano) performing Dead Ringer, Carny, Fay Ce Que Vouldras, Novalis, A Prayer for Nossis, Nijinsky and a world premiere
  • October 30 at 10pm
    Music for Cello, in which Jay Campbell, Erik Friedlander, Mike Nicolas and Jeffrey Zeigler will perform music from Masada Book Two, Ouroboros, Babel, Autumn Rhythm, 777 and the world premiere of Pierrot, for solo cello and three celli
  • October 30 at midnight ($45 for a ticket also including 10pm Music for Cello at NS)
    Hermetic Organ Office Nr. 14
    A special bus will be available to take audience members from NS to St. Bartholomew's Church, at 51st Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan.
  • October 31 at 8pm
    Magickal Chamber Music, featuring Chris Otto (violin), Kyle Armbrust (viola), Jay Campbell (cello), Stephen Gosling (piano) and William Winant (percussion) performing Walpurgisnacht, Gri Gri, All Hallows Eve, Hexentarot, Ghosts and a world premiere
  • October 31 at 10pm
    Simulacrum, performed by John Medeski (organ), Matt Hollenberg (guitar) and Kenny Grohowski (drums)

November - December Programming Highlights

Blue Dress (World Premiere)
November 4 at 7pm; $35

The pioneering quartet ETHEL will perform Blue Dress, a new evening-length program that pays special homage to women who are making their musical mark on the 21st century, including Pulitzer-winner Julia Wolfe, Missy Mazzoli, Aleksandra Vrebalov, Lainie Feffernan, Mary Ellen Childs, Anna Clyne, Pamela Z, Paola Prestini and ETHEL's own Dorothy Lawson. The concert features a visual montage by projection designer Grant MacDonald (Esperanza Spalding's D+ Evolution world tour, Black Mountain Songs at BAM and the Barbican). The centerpiece of Blue Dressis a quartet of the same name, composed for ETHEL by Julia Wolfe. The piece, which makes its world premiere here, delves into the passion and energy of bluegrass.

Kristin Lee
Curated by Ian Rosenbaum
November 5 at 7pm; $25

Violinist Kristin Lee, a winner of 2015 Avery Fisher Career Grant, enjoys a vibrant career as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Here she joins forces with composer and "hacked" theremin performer Jakub Ciupinski to offer a program of groundbreaking sounds.

The Elio Villafranca Quintet
Elio Villafranca and the Music of Chick Corea
Curated by Magos Herrera
November 5 at 9:30 pm; $35

In May of 2013, pianist and composer Elio Villafranca was among six artists selected by Chick Corea to be part of that year's Chick Corea Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center. This year, NS presents The Elio Villafranca Quintet, featuring drummer Terri Lyne Carrington, performing for only the second time the same homage to Corea, which including Corea's own works and original Corea-inspired pieces that demonstrate Villafranca's compositional prowess as well as his reverence for his hero.

John Korsrud and the Eco-Music Big Band
Curated by Jeffrey Zeigler
November 6 at 10 pm; $25

Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler presents a concert featuring jazz trumpeter John Korsrud and the Eco-Music Big Band, led by Marie Incontrera. The 18-piece Eco-Music Big Band plays the music of Canadian new music/jazz composer John Korsrud. Korsrud's high-energy compositions established him as one of Canada's most exciting and original composers. The adventurous Eco-Music Big Band, originally formed by Fred Ho and led by Marie Incontrera specializes in premiering new work.

Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Series
NOW Ensemble
November 8 at 5pm; free

NS, in partnership with Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Concert Series, presents NOW Ensemble, a composer-performer collective whose music straddles the line between contemporary classical and indie rock with an unusual instrumental lineup of flute, clarinet, electric guitar, bass and piano. The group recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with the release of its fourth album, Dreamfall, which was hailed as "fresh and vibrant" by The Classical Review. True to its name, NOW Ensemble's musical ventures are filled with experimentation, innovation and enthusiasm for making 21st-century chamber music and bringing classical music to new audiences. Carnegie Hall's Neighborhood Concerts is a program of the Weill Music Institute.

National Sawdust Film/Music Series
The Great Beauty
November 13 8pm; $25

The string orchestra 1B1, a NS group-in-residence, exudes youth, quality and enthusiasm. Rooted in the tradition of classical music and youthful energy, often in collaboration with soloists of the highest quality, the Norwegian Grammy-winning ensemble explores all kinds of musical genres. For this evening's program, they draw inspiration from the critically acclaimed soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film The Great Beauty, performing works by Part, Tavener and Martynov with NS partners the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, under the direction of Julian Wachner.

Dillon Gallery, with the New Museum's NEW INC, Presents
November 14 at 8pm and November 15 at 7pm; $25

Afripedia, launched by Dillon Gallery with support the New Museum's NEW INC, is a new platform to discover and promote creativity in an evolving Africa. First up from Afripedia is a five-part documentary series revealing the burgeoning art scene in Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Kenya and Angola. Afripedia shares the stories of a new generation of creatives who are participating in contemporary culture. These films are part of a transmedia project that will expand into a global platform for Africa and the African diaspora to inform, connect, follow and showcase their artistic practices. The evening will include music, film and discussion.

Curated by New Amsterdam (National Sawdust Group-in-Residence)
November 14 at 10pm; $25

NS group-in-residence New Amsterdam presents percussion trio TIGUE. One part new music ensemble and one part avant-pop band, TIGUE has drawn praise for their energetic and focused performances. The group's debut album, Peaks, will be released on New Amsterdam Records and features contributions from John Colpitts (Oneida, Man Forever) as well as members of Yo La Tengo. To celebrate the release of Peaks, TIGUE will perform selected works from the album with help from a roster of special guests.

New York Philharmonic
"Young Americans"
November 16 at 7:30pm; $25

"Young Americans" is the 2015-16 season's first of three CONTACT! programs at NS, inaugurating the venue's partnership with the New York Philharmonic. The program will feature chamber music by the next generation of American composers proposed by musicians of the New York Philharmonic and representing a wide range of styles: Adam Schoenberg's Fleeting (2008), Nathan Heidelberger's Halve Time (quartet after Zeno) (2012), Caroline Mallonée's Unless Acted Upon: Manifestations of Newton's First Law (2011), and Kate Soper's Into That World Inverted (2006, rev. 2010).

ICE Ensemble
September Paris Concerts
November 17-21 times and prices vary

  • November 17 at 7pm; $25
    New Dialogues I (World Premiere)
    ICE will explore works with instruments and electronics by Pierre Boulez and George Lewis, plus a world premiere by Olga Neuwirth. Featuring Pascal Galois, Rebekah Heller, Joshua Rubin and Claire Chase.
  • November 18 at 9:30pm; $25
    New Dialogues II (World Premiere)
    A dialogue between the idiosyncratic musical voices of Pierre Boulez and Elliott Carter, plus a world premiere by Olga Neuwirth, featuring Pascal Gallois, Rebekah Heller, and guest pianist Dimitri Vassilakis
  • November 19 at 9:30pm; $25
    New Dialogues III (World Premiere)
    Boulez's sonic experiments, musical language and mentorship opened the doors for many younger composers. This concert features new works by composers who are forging new paths emerging from the research of the musical spectrum that Boulez set in motion, as well as works by Boulez, Franck Bedrossian, Mario Diaz de Leon and world premieres by Sabrina Schroeder and Olga Neuwirth. Featuring Pascal Galois, Rebekah Heller, Joshua Rubin and Claire Chase.
  • November 21 at 8pm; $50, limited seating
    Perspectives: Pierre Boulez at 90
    These masterpieces of the twentieth century by peers and close collaborators of Boulez are rarely heard together. This special performance will be recorded live for an upcoming album featuring ICE and Pascal Galois; featuring the incomparably beautiful voice of soprano Katalin Károlyi on Boulez's seminal Le marteau sans maître.

Rinde Eckert
Big Farm
November 18 at 7pm; $25

Big Farm features four of today's most revered and vital composer/performers: Grammy-winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist vocalist-lyricist Rinde Eckert; in-demand electric bassist Mark Haanstra; Grammy-winner and composer-guitarist Steven Mackey; and celebrated percussionist Jason Treuting, of So Percussion. Following their self-titled album, released by National Sawdust group-in-residence New Amsterdam Records in 2013, the group returns to the stage.

Katie McGarry and The Tough Get Growing
Curated by Theo Bleckmann
November 19 at 8pm; $25

Kate McGarry and The Tough Get Growing are a Durham, North Carolina-based musical collective featuring McGarry's husband, guitarist Keith Ganz, as well as trumpeter and The Art Of Cool Project cofounder Al Strong, bassist Paul Creel and drummer Jon Curry.

Special guest James Shipp will join them on vibes and percussion, and collaborated on arrangements, for a program developed especially for premiere at NS. The band will combine folk and Celtic vocal sensibilities and considerable jazz and improvisational chops in lush new treatments of songs by Leonard Cohen, The Blue Nile, Tom Waits, Paul Simon, the Eagles, the Great American Songbook and more.

Curated by Miranda Cuckson
December 4, 7pm; $25

Virtuoso violinist Miranda Cuckson joins percussion and piano quartet Yarn/Wire for the world premiere of a work from polymath composer, improviser and trombonist George Lewis. Also on the program is a new work by Berlin-based composer Chiyoko Szlavnics.

Matthew Aucoin & Kier GoGwilt
Words and Music
Curated by Anna Clyne
December 10 at 7pm; $25

Where is the border between language and music? How does sound harden into signification, and how does language break down into song? What is the difference between our perceptions of meaning in these two media? Composer Anna Clyne presents violinist Keir GoGwilt and composer Matthew Aucoin as they explore the fluid boundary between words and music with works that feel like music and poetry at once. The program will include new work by Aucoin as well as Kurtag, Celan, Webern and Berg.

Simone Dinnerstein
December 13 at 7pm; $35

Acclaimed pianist Simone Dinnerstein, a NS curator, will perform works by her longtime collaborator Philip Lasser, whose music combines French and American idioms and explores ideas of travel and discovery, memory and return. Lasser's first piano concerto, The Circle and the Child, is written for Dinnerstein, and appears on her latest album, Broadway-Lafayette.

National Sawdust Winterreise Festival
December 9-17

NS will approach Schubert's seminal Winnterreise (winter's journey) with a series of music that explores the juxtaposition of isolation and community, and that brings 21st century sounds and visuals to the canonical work.

  • December 9 at 7pm; $35
    The classical pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, a NS curator, presents Chiaroscuro: Franz Schubert, in which she and the flutist Ransom Wilson (Le Train Bleu) will perform Shubert works including Trockne Blumenand Sonata in B-flat Major.
  • December 16 at 7pm; $35
    Baritone David Adam Moore performs the New York premiere of David T. Little's multimedia Winterreise, which draws the audience into the emotional journey of the poet. The production includes moving images created for the show by GLMMR, a new collective founded by artists Vita Tzykun and Moore. Curated by David T. Little.
  • December 17 at 7pm; $35
    National Sawdust curator Theo Bleckmann and pianist Uri Caine join forces to create their own take on Winterreise, featuring voice, toys, piano and electronica, with new lyrics, harmonies and languages including French, German, Yiddish and English.

January 2016 Sneak Peek

Sága (American Premiere)
Co-presented By the Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now
January 9-10, 2016

With Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now, NS co-presents the American premiere of Sága. Sága stands midway between a modern opera and a song cycle, told through the prism of the Belgian indie band Dez Mona in a sparkling collaboration with B.O.X. (Baroque Orchestration X), along with the outstanding vocalist Gregory Frateur, and tells stories of the soul, and goes in search of love for the land, a home and the world in which it lives. The title refers to the well-known epic tales composed in Iceland and Greenland some time between the 12th and 14th centuries, as well as to Sága, the goddess of history and storytelling in Norse mythology.

Alicia Hall Moran (National Sawdust Artist-in-Residence)
The Five Fans
Commissioned by National Sawdust
January 12, 2016 at 8pm; $35

The Five Fans, a new work by NS artist-in-residence Alicia Hall Moran (Porgy and Bess), blends classical & pop, world music & Americana and will unfold over the course of five concerts at the venue. Following the installment, Flower Face, on October 19, 2015, the series continues here with Black Wall Street.

Ferus Festival
January 14-17, 2016

National Sawdust's resident multimedia company, VisionIntoArt, produces this festival, which in 2016 will feature Agata Zubel, Hafez Modirzadeh and a new work by Cornelius Dufallo and Royce Vavrek.

National Sawdust's Board of Directors and Advisory Board

Rick D'Avino is President and Chairman of National Sawdust's Board of Directors, which includes Adam Abeshouse, Dan Breen, Courtenay Casey, Jean Pierre Chesse, Valerie Dillon, Randy Ezratty, Chris Grymes, Richard Kessler, Roger Krulak, Harvey Mogenson, Michelle Nakash, Paola Prestini, Natalia Schwien, R. Adam Smith, Jill Steinberg, Jeremy Turner and Peter Zuspan.

The National Sawdust Advisory Board, chaired by Richard Kessler, includes Laurie Anderson, Helena Christensen, Philip Glass, Renée Fleming, Jennifer Frommer, Nico Muhly, James Murphy, Elena Park, Terry Riley, Limor Tomer, Suzanne Vega and Karen Wong.

For more information, please visit

Related Articles View More Brooklyn Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You