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National Sawdust Announces Open Call for New Works Commission as Part of Their Digital Discovery Festival

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National Sawdust Announces Open Call for New Works Commission as Part of Their Digital Discovery Festival

National Sawdust has announced an open call for 20 new works to be commissioned by emerging composers residing or working in the US, as an expansion of its Live@NationalSawdust Digital Discovery Festival, which was launched in April 2020. The commissioning program will feature mentorship by a judges panel of classical music luminaries, professional development sessions with leading musicians, and online premieres of the new works at this Fall.

Twenty (20) commissioned composers will receive the following resources: a short commission for $3,000; a performance of their work by either JACK Quartet, renowned string quartet, or members from the National Sawdust Ensemble (Miranda Cuckson, Jeffrey Zeigler, Ian Rosenbaum, Allison Loggins-Hull, Chris Grymes and Stephen Gosling) a new music pierrot ensemble with flexible orchestration and wide-ranging music skills; a recording/film of the live performance; mentorship by the judging panel; and professional development sessions with the musicians.

National Sawdust is deeply grateful to the Alphadyne Foundation for making the Digital Discovery Festival possible. Alphadyne has fully underwritten the Festival which includes the composer competition, performances and masterclasses. This remarkable gift has allowed National Sawdust to support artists directly with financial and technical resources at this very challenging time, while also helping National Sawdust develop its overall digital stage capacity and skills. Reinvention and reimagination in the arts is needed now more than ever, and we are deeply appreciative for Alphadyne's support which allows us to amplify our mission based work of music discovery and artistic collaboration - to entertain us, educate us and inspire us.

The deadline for submission is June 30th, 2020, the winners will be announced in early August 2020, and the two concerts featuring the 20 commissions will take place online as part of the Digital Discovery Festival in the Fall and Spring.

The roster of judges and mentors include Paola Prestini, composer, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of National Sawdust; Marcos Balter, composer; Ellen Reid, composer, sound artist and Pulitzer Prize winner; Pamela Z, composer, performer, and Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize Fellow 2019/2020; Steve Smith, writer, and critic; Jeffrey Zeigler, cellist, and Music Director for the National Sawdust Ensemble and former Kronos Quartet cellist; and JACK Quartet, string quartet.a??

Mentoring responsibilities will be shared, which will give the composers the benefit of the full range of musical experience represented by the pool of judges. Each judge will participate in a streamed public workshop in the early Fall.

To be eligible to apply, all applicants are required to certify that they have met two of the following three criteria: that they have received no prior personal/individual commissions of $7,000 or more; that there are no major commercially released full album recordings of their work; that there have been no prior major performances of their work by a professional ensemble in the US, outside of multi-billed concerts, and university setting. Neither letters of recommendation nor application fees are required.

Throughout the period leading up to the concert, commissioned composers will take part in a professional development process that mirrors the residency program at National Sawdust. Within these sessions, composers will explore issues ranging from intellectual property rights, improvisation, acoustics, criticism, and other relevant topics pertaining to their field, in conversations directed by leading figures in the field and National Sawdust staff.

Composers will be trained by National Sawdust staff to use equipment and skills specific to this new time in terms of digital production, in ways that enhance their compositional process and provide a bridge into their next compositional phase.

Previously commissioned composers tell us about the opportunities afforded to them through the commissioning and mentorship process at National Sawdust. The winners of the 2019 Hildegard Composer competition - described by Prestini as a "peer-based mentorship" experience - were inti figgis-vizueta, Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir, and Niloufar Nourbakhsh. The inaugural winners were X. Lee, Kayla Cashetta, and Emma O'Halloran.

"It's been an amazing experience being welcomed into such a strong community of adventurous music-makers that National Sawdust comprises, and the support they give through the Hildegard competition is extremely important to up-and-coming composers," says Snæbjörnsdóttir.

"Winning this competition, working with the musicians and staff, and all the additional resources that come along with it almost feels like becoming part of a new family," Nourbakhsh adds.

"This community is unique in its support and warmth and I value its dedication to a wide range of genre and sound," explains figgis-vizueta. "As a composer whose career and artistic practice is defined by current social, political, and aesthetic dialogues I have found a much needed well of knowledge and practice of collective learning here."

For the submission page on the National Sawdust website, and further information, click here:

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