The piece was recently performed by Paola Prestini's husband and cellist, Jeffrey Zeigler, as part of the "Death of Classical" concert series taking place in New York City's catacombs
"Simply put, Houses of Zodiac is a trip, both in the colloquial sense and as a metaphor for travel and journeys, pretty much demanding one’s attention, and providing countless rewards to any listeners willing to give it a chance."
Our Hatchers Tongues content aims to inspire. We seek out creators from all disciplines to share their stories, pains, successes and learnings. This month we caught up with composer and co-founder of National Sawdust Paola Prestini.
As we emerge from the pandemic, BMP and Prestini’s National Sawdust (the innovative new music center she co-founded in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) are upping the ante with 21c Liederabend, op. Worldwide (digital), which they’re staging as a broadcast-only event beginning on June 27 on The WNET Group’s All Arts television channel and streaming app.
National Sawdust celebrates its bold, artistic spirit with “Contemplations from National Sawdust” — a six-episode retrospective on the Brooklyn-based music venue’s innovative addition to the New York City arts scene.
Listen to work by New York composer Paola Prestini, in collaboration with climatologist Andrew Kruczkiewicz, who studies early warning systems for extreme events such as floods, storm surge from tropical cyclones, wildfires and landslides.
La cantante mexicana, Magos Herrera, y la compositora, Paola Prestini, colaboraron de manera remota para producir su nuevo álbum: Con alma. A esta producción la definen como un cuadro operístico creado y grabado desde el confinamiento, que incluye sonidos y pensamientos de muchos participantes.
In this show, we share an interview conducted by Cristina Baccin with Grammy nominee, Magos Herrera, and composer Paola Prestini about their just released album “Con Alma” An operatic tableau on isolation (National Sawdust Tracks) which explores isolation and connection during this global confinement.
On Dec. 4, Paola Prestini and Magos Herrera released “Con Alma,” an album recorded remotely between March and October 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of us have experienced some sense of isolation during the pandemic, and that shared hardship inspired two New York based artists to create an album.
Composer Paola Prestini, based in New York, and singer-songwriter Magos Herrera, currently in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, created the album, titled Con Alma, while separated due to virus-related restrictions.
When friends Paola Prestini and Magos Herrera came together to create the album “Con Alma,” the two composers closed the geographical gap between them by drawing on their 15-year-long friendship.
Paola Prestini has collaborated with poets, filmmakers, and scientists in large-scale multimedia works that chart her interest in extra-musical themes ranging from the cosmos to the environment.
Ahead of the premiere of her new work Con Alma, Paola talks about the joy of exploring and combining styles. Pandemic or no pandemic, New York retains a remarkable cadre of composers...but chief among these is the singular figure of Paola Prestini.
Some composers hold full-time teaching posts. Others, like Thomas Adès or Esa-Pekka Salonen, maintain major conducting careers. But Paola Prestini offers a third model that seems very much of our time: along with being an award-winning composer, she has developed an equally significant career as an arts entrepreneur.
Her music is proof against anyone who says that classical music has nowhere left to go, nothing left to say, and nobody left to engage. She produces music which seamlessly mixes genres in support of the telling of stories that classical music has not traditionally given voice to.
The 19th Amendment is the beginning of a conversation surrounding equity, something that we are still fighting for today. Over the past twenty years of my career, I’ve tried to be part of the progress in our field, and as a composer, I work to define my life as one that is composed of music, service, and action.
As part of Metropolitan Opera Guild's 'Opera in the New Millennium' podcast, Paola joined lecturers Naomi Barrettara and Elspeth Davis and composers Missy Mazzoli and Kevin Puts to learn more about their work as contemporary opera composers from a live panel discussion originally recorded in 2017.
As National Sawdust began construction to build its warehouse home in Williamsburg, it also embarked on establishing a community of artists and music lovers.
While studying composition at the Juilliard School, Paola Prestini was eager to create the kind of boundary-blurring, collaborative pieces that didn’t have a place on the noted conservatory’s curriculum.
How do artists work within the parameters of the pandemic and how can organizations support artists in this moment of crisis? These are the questions that composer and National Sawdust’s artistic director, Paola Prestini, is asking. Prestini joined Classical Post for an interview on May 19 to discuss.
Paola reimagined “Thrush Song” as a wondrous harmonic serenade to Carson’s courage, working with a constellation of young women from the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, rehearsing and performing remotely in a world stilled and stunned by a global pandemic — a poignant meta-testament to Carson’s legacy.
When concerts, performances, shows and events ground to a halt this spring, the dust that arose enveloped the art world in uncertainty.
Today’s video premiere features Lucy Dhegrae and Jeffrey Zeigler performing an excerpt from the work-in-progress opera Sensorium Ex by composer Paola Prestini and librettist Brenda Shaughnessy.
a genre-hopping journey through transcendence
Opera News profiles Paola around the premiere of Edward Tulane at Minnesota Opera
Daring Multi-Media Composer’s Opera ‘Aging Magician’ Opens on San Diego Opera’s dētour Series
Entitled ‘Holes in the Sky’ after a quote from Georgia O’Keeffe, the concert included music by Clara Schumann, Florence Price, Meredith Monk, Nina Simone, Paola Prestini, Joni Mitchell, and others. It proved a fitting celebration of the work – it’s now safe to say the tradition – of women composers.
Trinity celebrates the release of six major recordings this year and reflects on a legacy of commissioning, premiering, and recording multiple new works that Trinity helped pioneer and develop, including Paola Prestini's Imaginary World of Wild Order: A Mass, excerpts of which will be featured at the season opener concert on September 12.
How does one direct so that the opera breathes with its own artistic life and not the life of a movie put onto stage? …The answers came from an at-once pellucid and oftentimes deeply emotional score by Paola Prestini, set to Vavrek’s bang-on minimalist libretto…
National Sawdust sets itself apart from other arts institutions through the unique way in which it supports artists and their projects.
Joan La Barbara is the kind of gifted, veteran New York composer the Philharmonic has often declined to notice. She’s experimentally minded, certainly, but her works contain plenty of more traditional operatic melody, too.
I try and balance the different sides of myself with the projects that I choose. For me, Sawdust represents the activist side, the side that contributes to the community at large.
The Milanesiana adventure in Ascoli, a cultural and interdisciplinary festival conceived and directed by Elisabetta Sgarbi, will end tonight. At 11.30 today the exhibition 'Le Storie Natuali' by Luigi Serafini was inaugurated at Forte Malatesta, which was attended, in addition to the artist, by Vittorio Sgarbi and Stefano Papetti.
When you enter the performance space of National Sawdust, you immediately understand why it’s described as an incubator of artistry. The abstract design gets your creative juices going.
A multimedia opera set in Southern Italy is due to premier at the Kennedy Center this month, written and composed by Paola Prestini. Titled “Oceanic Verses,” the concert and film project follows the stories of four characters as they explore the cultural and folkloric past of their Mediterranean setting.
Dead white men still dominate classical music. Despite growing numbers of female composers, symphony orchestras and opera companies still announce seasons overflowing with Beethoven and Bach, Puccini and Bizet.
At a moment when living composers — especially women — struggle to get their works performed, few would have predicted that a half-hour TV show would emerge as a key showcase for their work. But “Mozart in the Jungle,” the daffy Amazon comedy whose fourth season began streaming on Friday, has become an unlikely destination to hear new music.
PAOLA PRESTINI isn’t your typical music industry impresario. Beyond the fact that female impresarios are few and far between, she operates in an ecosphere that her fellow producers, talent scouts, fundraisers and promoters might not recognize.
‘The kind of experimentation Prestini has lent to her work will help “shape what masterpieces come out of the next 50 years.”
An ambitious entrepreneur, Prestini functions as both the mastermind behind large-scale performance projects and a kind of new-music activist, creating performance opportunities for a whole cadre of artists — most recently at National Sawdust, the factory-turned-performance-space she co-founded and runs in Brooklyn.
Composer of music, producer, mentor, and impresario–Paola Prestini is a brilliant talent of Italian origin. Founder of VisionIntoArt, an interdisciplinary art company, Prestini is also the Creative Director of National Sawdust, a non-profit venue with the mission of being a platform for contemporary artists to see their visions shine through.
As the executive and creative director of National Sawdust, Paola Prestini is a name to know in New York new music, as she works to secure a home for innovative composition and performance in Williamsburg.
Just two weeks before he’s scheduled to step on a Manhattan stage to play the central character in a new musical play for which he also wrote the text, Rinde Eckert hasn’t been busy rehearsing — he’s been revising.
Paola Prestini is on the search for the next Philip Glass. The composer has been hailed among the “Top 100 Composers Under 40” by NPR and is responsible for two artistic incubators. After graduating from Juilliard, Prestini found herself struggling to get commissions and find funding.
There was a time, within relatively recent memory, when buyers of new-music albums had a good idea what kind of music they would hear – and not incidentally, what kind they would not hear.
A composer whose interests encompass much more, Paola Prestini embodies the best kind of restlessness. In 1999, when she was a student in The Juilliard School, she founded VisionIntoArt, a collective that commissions and presents new works, focusing on collaborations with choreographers, visual artists, actors, and composers.
It is often said that music can transport a listener. On Saturday night, “The Hubble Cantata” hopes to launch some 6,000 people from Prospect Park into the Orion Nebula, more than 1,000 light-years away.
The annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn series of outdoor shows at Prospect Park doesn’t usually include opera, and it’s not usually associated with science, either.
During the decades that the Hubble Space Telescope has orbited the Earth, it has produced some of the most sublime images of the cosmos that humanity has ever seen. Inspired by many of the iconic images produced by the Hubble throughout its career, composer Paola Prestini collaborated with astrophysicist Mario Livio to create The Hubble Cantata.
Entrepreneurialism has become a byword among classical musicians lately, but few have mastered the art of founding a business upon creativity as deftly as the composer Paola Prestini. Ms. Prestini, 40, started VisionIntoArt, her multimedia production company, when she was still a student at the Juilliard School, in 1999.
In “Epiphany: the Cycle of Life” video artist Ali Hossaini, composer Paola Prestini, librettist Niloufar Talebi and choral master Francisco Nunez re-imagine the concert-going experience by employing interactive methods to explore the relationship between performers and observers
Maybe you’ve heard about National Sawdust, the vast concert space that opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last month.
There’s something fitting about the fact that composer Paola Prestini made her first appearance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s vaunted Next Wave Festival the very same month that National Sawdust, the new arts institution that she directs, opened its doors with a pair of eclectic, sold out concerts.
Aria by Paola Prestini, one of the founders of National Sawdust, followed. The music is reflexive of the title. Slow moving counterpoint anchored by a simple motif permeated the quartet, and the quartet was, for the first time in the evening, given a chance to really sing.
On a perfect summer night in 2012, the keening of a clarinet ricocheted off the century-old walls of a roofless sawdust factory and plumed out into the streets of Williamsburg.
Paola Prestini, the creative and executive director of National Sawdust, stood in the space’s balcony one recent afternoon, looking over what would soon be a bustling concert hall. “The speakers just came in,” she said cheerfully, pointing at a rig hanging from the ceiling, still in its filmy protective covering.
I wanted to write these two large-scale, deeply virtuosic pieces for these two muses, but I hadn’t had a chance to create a large-scale work like that yet.
Classical music and technological innovation are seen by many as being, for the best part, mutually exclusive – something the Labyrinth Installation Concertos project, created by New York-based artist and composer Paola Prestini, aims to change.
The cello, played well, is a soulful instrument. So human, so organic. The last thing you’d think a cello needs is high-tech enhancement. And yet, several years ago the visual artist Erika Harrsch began collaborating with cellist Maya Beiser and composer Paola Prestini on a new work.
This idea of disparate energies colliding is very much a part of everything I do. I’m interested in energies and styles that don’t necessarily go together and weaving them into a tapestry that to me makes sense.
Composer, visionary, and mentor Paola Prestini not only fills all of the aforementioned roles but is also founder of her own production company, VisionIntoArt (VIA), which provides opportunities to young composers as well as established performers in the new music world.
Paola Prestini combines wild imagination and controlled practicality on an almost molecular level—it’s as if both are fused together in her DNA.
It's been a busy season for composer Paola Prestini. She's the founder of VisionIntoArt, the interdisciplinary arts company behind the annual 21c Liederabend festival, the Colorado Project at MASS MoCA and dozens of multimedia collaborations including Prestini's own Oceanic Verses and music-theatre piece Aging Magician.
Above, there’s a shortened form from a new classical work, the improbably if appropriately named Hubble Cantata by Paola Prestini. The piece, which played on Saturday at the Brookyln Academy of Music’s celebration of "contemporary art song," celebrates the beauty of the space telescope’s imagery.
Paola Prestini is probably best known as a composer, but her business card might more accurately read “human resources alchemist,” such is her gift for bringing together disparate artists, technicians and other creative professionals to produce cross-disciplinary works greater than the sum of their parts.
Paola Prestini has been at work on "Oceanic Verses," a multimedia folk opera, since Carnegie Hall commissioned part of it for a composers' and singers' workshop in 2009.
Growing up in Naples, Mexico, and Tucson, Arizona, 36-year-old composer Paola Prestini was always conscious of borders and juxtaposed realities. "Bringing together disparate threads and making them equal–that's what drives me as an artist," she said.
Paola Prestini is working on a new opera. So naturally, she's got plenty of film to edit. The forward-thinking new music composer has long been fascinated with the collaborative possibilities found in working with multiple media.
Through her interdisciplinary performance collective VisionIntoArt, Paola Prestini creates what TimeOut New York calls "ingeniously staged concert pieces that gracefully walk the line between opera and performance art." The Italian-born, New York-based composer joins David Garland for a conversation about her music and current projects.