National Sawdust, the non-profit arts institution based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will launch Live@NationalSawdust, a free digital platform that will release weekly videos of concerts from the past five seasons, as well as professional development programming, and will include fundraising efforts for the institution and the artists involved. National Sawdust further plans to work with NYC Department of Education to offer content to teachers and school children at this time of remote learning.
The Live@NationalSawdust initial releases will focus on the very first concert in the venue from October 2015, including performances by Philip Glass, Foday Musa Suso, Tanya Tagaq, Chris Thile, Nico Muhly, Nadia Sirota, Jeffrey Zeigler, Eve Gigliotti, Paola Prestini, Nels Cline, Glenn Kotche, Theo Bleckmann, ACME and more. Future releases will draw from an extensive digital archive of more than 1,200 live performances, including highlights like Terry Riley’s Archangels featuring the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Du Yun’s Pan Asia Sounding Festival, and more.
In addition to performances, Live@NationalSawdust will offer digital content from National Sawdust’s artist mentorship programs, including personal development forums with leading artists such as Renée Fleming and Meredith Monk on topics such as mental health and music, improvisation and movement, publishing, and more. Workshops will continue digitally with The Blueprint Fellowship commissioning program in partnership with The Juilliard School, featuring mentors Prestini, Reena Esmail, Claire Chase and more. The Hildegard Competition (funded by the Toulmin Foundation) continues its mentorship digitally with the three winners sharing their commissioned work with mentors such as Angélica Negrón and conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya, with concerts for both programs moved to the Fall.
National Sawdust will pause live venue operations until fall 2020 in order to protect audiences, performers, and staff from the ongoing virus pandemic. Half of the NS operational staff will remain on, working to raise money and plan for the future until circumstances allow for reconstituting the full team. Composer/Co-founder & Artistic Director Paola Prestini and Managing Director Brian Berkopec will forgo salary during this challenging period.
Prestini states: “We are committed to reopening in the fall, and we firmly believe that these challenges will only strengthen the resolve and resiliency of our artistic community, and New Yorkers at large. More than ever, our city will need a home for discovery, one that welcomes and celebrates new music in all its forms and vibrancy. We look forward to greeting this next chapter, and to working together to build a more inclusive and compassionate future.”