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EDUCATION

The Juilliard School, New York, NY; Master of Music in Composition, 1999

The Juilliard School, New York, NY; Bachelor of Music in Composition, 1997

The Course for Young Composers, Hoy, Orkney Islands; Scotland, UK, 1996

The Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore, MD; Bachelor of Music studies, 1992-1994

PRIMARY TEACHERS 

Samuel Adler, The Juilliard School, 1998-1999

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, The Course for Young Composers, 1996

Robert Beaser, The Juilliard School, 1994-1998

Morris Cotel, The Peabody Conservatory, 1992-1994

COMPOSITION/PRODUCTION EXPERIENCE 2013-2020

VisionIntoArt & National Sawdust

Paola Prestini is “the enterprising composer and impresario” (New York Times) whose interdisciplinary vision is helping to shape the future of new music. Named one of Musical America’s “Top 30 Musical Innovators 2016″ and one of the “Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music”  by the Washington Post, her music has been commissioned by and performed by institutions such as Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Opera, and her compositions and multimedia works have been performed and seen worldwide, from the Kennedy Center, BAM, and the Park Avenue Armory in New York, to London’s Barbican Centre, Milano’s Teatro Manzoni, and Zimbabwe’s HIFA festival. Her filmscores and works have been seen at The Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, and on the Amazon series, Mozart in the Jungle. Prestini’s career has focused on collaboration and large scale, deep process multimedia work. She often acts as a producer in these works, working for years to perfect and bring to life her interdisciplinary visions. She co-founded VisionIntoArt, a multimedia production company in 1999 that commissions herself and countless colleagues to work in interdisciplinary settings. Prestini is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of National Sawdust, a nonprofit Brooklyn-based space for arts incubation, performance, and recording that opened October 1, 2015.

CHRONOLOGICAL AND PUBLISHED LIST OF COMPOSITIONS

THE BICYCLE THIEVES (2021)

Instrumentation: Grand Opera, in progress

Commission: Zagreb Opera and Opera Comique (Paris)

Libretto: Royce Vavrek

Performers: Zagreb Opera and Opera Comique

Performance Dates: Premiere Zagreb Opera, Croatia, and Opera Comique, Paris, France 2022

 

BRASS ENSEMBLE (2021)

Instrumentation: Brass Ensemble, in progress

Commission: International Women’s Brass Conference (IWBC)

Performers: The Monarch Brass Ensemble

Performance Dates: Premiere IWBC Conference, May 2021

 

OLD MAN AND THE SEA (2021)

Instrumentation: Opera Theater work for Soloists, Choir, and Ensemble, in progress

Commission: Workshop National Sawdust; Developed at the Watermill Center

Director: Robert Wilson; Libretto: Royce Vavrek

Performers: Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, Vocalist Helga Davis, and others

Performance Dates: Premiere The Kennedy Center and University of Michigan (TBD), 2021

 

THE FOUR QUARTETS T. S. Eliot (2020)

Instrumentation: Piano Concerto, in progress

Commission: Mark Rabideau

Recording: March 23-25, 2020, Yellow Barn, Vermont

Performers: Pianist Awadagin Pratt, Roomful of Teeth and a Far Cry

Performance Dates: Premiere 05.11-15.20 TBD

 

CINDY SHERMAN FILM STILLS (2020)

Instrumentation: Monodrama for Soprano and Ensemble, photography by Cindy Sherman, in progress

Commission: National Sawdust and The Kennedy Center

Director: R.B. Schlather; Libretto: Royce Vavrek

Performers: Mezzo Soprano Eve Gigliotti, Ensemble TBD

Performance Dates: Premiere National Sawdust and The Kennedy Center, D.C., 2020-21 Season

 

SENSORIUM EX (2020)

Instrumentation: Chamber Opera for 5 soloists and Ensemble, in progress

Commission: Atlanta Opera and Beth Morrison Projects

Director: Tomer Tzvulun; Libretto: Brenda Shaughnessy

Performers: Atlanta Opera

Performance Dates: Premiere Atlanta Opera, Fall 2020, Prototype Festival, January 2021

 

EDWARD TULANE (2020)

Instrumentation: Grand Opera for Soloists, Orchestra and Choir, in progress

Commission: Minnesota Opera

Director: Eric Simonson; Libretto: Mark Campbell

Performers: Minnesota Opera

Performance Dates: Premiere 03.21-29.20, The Ordway Theater, St. Paul, MN

 

STELLET LICHT (2019)

Instrumentation: Chamber Opera for 8 soloists and 8 cellists, in progress

Commission: Banff Centre’s Opera in the 21st Century

Director: Thaddeus Strassberger; Libretto: Royce Vavrek

Performers: Banff Opera residents

Performance Dates: Workshop #1 07.03-05.19 Banff, Canada

 

FROM THE BONES TO FOSSILS (2019)

Instrumentation: Solo Cello, Looper and Electronics

Commission: The Golden Hornet: Sound of Science

Performers: Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler

Performance Dates: Premiere 11.10.18 National Sawdust, NY; 1.25.19 Choregus Productions, Tulsa, OK ; 3.01.19 Bellas Artes, Mexico City; 3.02.19 Centro de Artes Vivas, Mexico City; 4.20-21.19 The Fusebox Festival, Austin, TX

 

THE SEVEN LAST WORDS (2019)

Instrumentation: Baroque Ensemble

Commission: The Juilliard School

Performers: The Juilliard Historical Ensemble

Performance Dates: Premiere 04.16.19 at Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY

 

FRATRES, AFTER PALESTRINA (2019)

Instrumentation: SATB Choir

Commission: The ORA Singers UK

Performers: ORA Singers and conductor Suzi Digby

Performance Dates: Premiere 11.22.18 at St John’s, Smith Square London, U.K.

 

SILENT VOICES: LOVESTATE: SISTERS (2018)

Instrumentation: SSA Children’s Choir

Commission: The Brooklyn Youth Chorus

Libretto: Brenda Shaughnessy

Performers: The Brooklyn Youth Chorus

Performance Dates: Premiere 4.26-27.18 National Sawdust, NY; 1.19.19 ASU Gammage, AZ; 4.01.19 Direct Current, The Kennedy Center, D.C.; 5.02.19 The New Victory Theater, NY

 

SUITCASED DREAMS (2018)

Instrumentation: Violin and Piano

Commission: Commissioned by Yevgeny Kutik for the Music From A Suitcase project

Performers: Yevgeny Kutik, violin

Performance Dates: Recording release November 2018

 

DIAMETRICALLY COMPOSED (2018)

Instrumentation: Piano and Flute

Commission:  Commissioned by Allison Loggins Hull for the Diametrically Composed project

Performers: Allison Loggins Hull, flute

Performance Dates: Premiere May 2019 National Sawdust, NY

 

VENTO E SOLE (2018)

Instrumentation: Solo Viola and Looper

Commission: Jonah Sirota for the Strong Sad Album

Performers: Jonah Sirota, Viola

Performance Dates: 6.26.18 National Sawdust, NY

 

THE GLASS BOX (2018)

Instrumentation: Double Choir (Children’s SSA and SATB)

Commission: The Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Yale Choral Artists

Performers: The Young People’s Chorus of New York City and Yale Choral Artists

Performance Dates: 6.16.18 Yale University Campus; 6.18.18 Merkin Hall, NY

 

STILL (2018)

Instrumentation: Song for Two Sopranos and Piano

Commission: Commissioned by Heather Fetrow and Mila Henry for “Voices of Women: From Unknown to Renowned

Performers: Sopranos Heather Fetrow and Rebecca Obert and pianist Mila Henry

Performance Dates: 5.18.18 The Cell, NY; 7.17.18 Church of the Epiphany, D.C.

 

SEURAT’S PATH (2017)

Instrumentation: Solo Piano

Commission: The Juilliard School for the Juilliard Pianoscore: Illuminating Music commission

Performers: Pianist Robert Fleitz

Performance Dates: 4.19.17 The Morgan Library, NY

 

WE BREATHE AGAIN (2017)

Instrumentation: Vocalist, Violinist, Cellist, Guitars, Percussion and Piano

Commission: PBS Documentary film score

Performers: Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq, Violinist Cornelius Dufallo, Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, Guitarist Nels Cline, Percussionist David Cossin, and pianist Paola Prestini

Performance Dates: Airing date September 2017, PBS

Premiere Performance 12.06.17 National Sawdust, NY

 

THE HOTEL THAT TIME FORGOT (2017)

Instrumentation: Orchestra with Film by Mami Kosemura

Commission: The American Composers Orchestra

Performers: The American Composers Orchestra

Performance Dates: Premiere 03.24.17 Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, NY

 

THE IMAGINARY WORLD OF WILD ORDER  (2017)

Instrumentation: SATB Choir, String Quartet and 2 Marimbas

Commission: Choir of Trinity Wall Street FOR THE Mass Reimaginings Project

Poet: Brenda Shaughnessy

Performers: Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Novus Ensemble

Performance Dates: Premiere 1.12.17 Trinity Church, NY; 5.24.18 St. Paul’s Cathedral, NY

 

THE HUBBLE CANTATA (2016)

Instrumentation: Cantata for 2 Operatic Soloists, Choir, Orchestra and Electronics

Commission: Bay Chamber Concerts/VisionIntoArt Presents/National Sawdust

Libretto: Royce Vavrek and Astrophysicist Mario Livio

Performers: Astrophysicist Mario Livio, VR by Eliza McNitt, Baritone Nathan Gunn, Soprano Jessica Rivera, with ensembles such as the Washington Chorus, Norwegian 1B1 Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Los Angeles Opera, and Los Angeles Philharmonic

Performance Dates: Performed during the 16-17 seasons at Celebrate Brooklyn, NY; The Kennedy Centre, D.C.; Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA; the Ford Theater, LA presented by Los Angeles Opera, LA

 

GILGAMESH (2016)

Instrumentation: Grand Opera for 5 opera soloists, SATB Choir, Children’s Choir and Orchestra

Commission: Friends of Madam Whitesnake

Libretto: Cerise Jacobs

Performers: Conductor Julian Wachner, Soprano Hila Plitmann, Baritone Chris Burchett, Counter Tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, Soprano Heather Buck and Bass Andrew Norman

Performance Dates: 09.10-17.16 the Cutler Majestic, Boston Celebrity Series, Boston, MA

 

THE COLORADO (2016)

Instrumentation: SATB Vocal Octet, Percussion and Cello, with Film

Commission: VisionIntoArt Presents, developed at MASS MoCA

Filmmaker and Writer: Murat Eyuboglu; Conservationist and Writer: William deBuys

Performers: Roomful of Teeth, Percussionist Glenn Kotche and Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler

Performance Dates: Premiere 05.12.16 Da Camera of Houston, TX; 05.18.16 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; 05.21-22.17 Bing Hall, Stanford Live, CA; 03.18.18 Direct Current, The Kennedy Center, D.C.

 

G-FORCE (2015)

Instrumentation: Vibraphone and String Quartet

Performers: Percussionist Ian Rosenbaum, and Brooklyn Rider

Performance Dates: 09.19-23.15 Bay Chamber Concerts, ME; 11.21.16 National Sawdust, NY

 

OPERA AMERICA SONGBOOK (2015)

Instrumentation: Song for Baritone and Piano

Commission: Commissioned by Opera America as part of the Songbook album

Libretto: Donna DiNovelli

Performers: Baritone Chris Burchett

 

EPIPHANY (2015)

Instrumentation: Choir, String quartet, Marimba, and Live Installation

Commission: Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music and Young People’s Chorus

Libretto: Niloufar Talebi; Filmmaker: Ali Hossaini

Performers: Young People’s Chorus, ACME, and Percussionist Ian Rosenbaum

Performance Dates: 11.04-08.15 Next Wave Festival, BAM, NY

 

AGING MAGICIAN (2015)

Instrumentation: Music-Theater work for Singing Actor, String Quartet, and Children’s Choir

Commission: Walker Art Center and Krannert Center with support from NEA, NEFA, developed at the Park Avenue Armory and MASS MoCA

Direction and Co-Design: by Julian Crouch; Librettist: Rinde Eckert

Performers: Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Rinde Eckert, the Attacca Quartet

Performances: Premiere 03.05-06.16 The Walker Arts Center, MN;  05.02.16 Krannert Center, IL; 1.28.17 ASU Gammage, AZ; 03.03-12.17 the New Victory Theater, NY

 

IRVING KLEIN COMPETITION PIECES (2015)

Instrumentation: Solo Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass works

Commission: Commissioned by the Irving Klein Competition

Performers: Winners of the competition

Performance Dates: 06.04.15 San Francisco, CA

 

OCEANIC FANTASY (2015)

Instrumentation: Solo Violin with Electronics

Commission: The Leonore Annenburg Scholarship Fellowship

Performers: Francesca dePasquale

Performance Dates: 04.03.16 Philadelphia Chamber Music Society; 04.06.16 National Sawdust

 

8 TAKES for the NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC Biennale (2014)

Instrumentation: Solo Cello

Commission: The New York Philharmonic

Performers: Sumire Kudo

Performance Dates: 06.03.14 Subculture, NY Philharmonic Contact Series, NY

 

LABYRINTH: ROOM NO. 35 (2014)

Instrumentation: Cello Installation Concerto with Electronics

Commission: Krannert Center and VisionIntoArt Presents

Performers: Cellist Maya Beiser; Visuals: Erika Harrsch

Performance Dates: 2.01.14 Krannert Center, IL; 2.04.16 the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA

 

OCEANIC VERSES (2012-13)

Instrumentation: Folk Opera for Four Soloists, Choir and Ensemble

Commission: Carnegie Hall

Performers: Vocalist Helga Davis, Soprano Hila Plitmann, Baritone Chris Burchett, and Folk Singer Claudio Prima, with ensembles such as the BBC Orchestra, Washington Chorus, Novus NY, VOX New York City Opera

Performance Dates: 07.02.2018 Central Park, Naumburg Bandshell, NY; 06.01.2013 The Barbican Centre, UK; 06.13.2012 New Works Sampler, Opera America, NY; 06.23.2012 The Kennedy Center D.C.; 06.25.2012 River to River Festival, NY; 04.30.10-05.01.10 Oceanic Verses at New York City Opera’s VOX: Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, NYU, NY

 

DE DEO (2011)

Instrumentation: Chamber Opera for Four Soloists, Chamber Choir and String Quartet

Commission: Word First program New York City Opera VOX

Librettist: Donna Di Novelli

Performers: New York City Opera

Performance Dates: Premiere 05.15.11 at Le Poisson Rouge, NY

 

LABYRINTH: HOUSE OF SOLITUDE (2011-12)

Instrumentation: Violin Installation Concerto with Electronics, and Film

Commission: The Krannert Center

Performers: Cornelius Dufallo; Film by Carmen Kordas

Performance Dates: 07.15.11 The Atlas Theater, D.C.; 2.01.14 Krannert Center, IL; 2.04.16 at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, MA;  additional performances at UCSF Strings in the 21st Century, LA; The River to River festival, NY; SUNY Fredonia; The Harare Festival in Zimbabwe (HIFA)

 

SPELL (2011)

Instrumentation: Trio for Harp, Vibes and Cello with Electronics (flexible trio)

Commission: WNYC

Performers: VisionIntoArt Ensemble; Chicago Symphony Music Now

Performance Dates: 06.01.09 WNYC, NY; 12.13.10 Chicago Symphony, IL

 

YOANI SONG CYCLE (2010)

Instrumentation: Mezzo, Electric Guitar, Cello and Electronics.

Poet: Royce Vavrek

Performers: Mezzo Sopranos Rebecca Ringle and Eve Gigliotti, and Hotel Elephant

Performance Dates: Premiere 12.12.10 at Joe’s Pub, NY

 

LISTEN, QUIET (2010)

Instrumentation: Duo for Cello and Percussion, with Video Design

Commission: The Juilliard School

Performers: Jeffrey Zeigler, cello, Jason Treuting, percussion

Video Design: S. Katy Tucker

Performance Dates: 02.13.18 Mozart in the Jungle Season Four release, National Sawdust, NY; 06.27.17 Gamper Festival of Contemporary Music, Bowdoin College, ME; 05.22.14 ASCAP 2014 Awards, Merkin Hall, NY; 11.20.13 The Loft, UCSD San Diego, CA; 11.03.13 Le Poisson Rouge, NY; 03.17-20.10 Premiere performance opening of Wilson Theater, The Juilliard School, NY

 

WAKE UP (2010)

Instrumentation: Song for Singing Pianist

Commission: MATA

Performers: Gabriel Kahane, voice and piano

Performance Dates: 11.17.10 at Issue Project Room, NY

 

CUT HIM OUT IN LITTLE STARS (2009)

Instrumentation: Work for Piano and Soprano

Commission: Concert Artist Guild/Sarah Wolfson

Performers: Soprano Sarah Wolfson

Performance Dates: Premiere 01.27.09 at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, NY

 

VIOLENS (2008)

Instrumentation: Chamber Work for Soprano, Clarinet, String Quartet, Bass and Percussion

Commission: Concert Artist Guild/Cary Trust

Performers: VisionIntoArt Ensemble

Performance Dates: Premiere 04.06.07 The Whitney Museum, NY.  Subsequent tour at Performance Space 122, NY; Joe’s Pub, NY; the Stone, NY; JugoKoncert BEMUS, Belgrade, Serbia

 

SOUNDS (2007-2009)

Instrumentation: Song Cycle for Soprano, Clarinet, String Quartet, Bass and Percussion

Commission: WNYC

Performers: VisionIntoArt Ensemble and the Claremont Trio

Performance Dates: Premiere 05.20.07 The Whitney Live, NY;  subsequent performances at Joe’s Pub, NY; JugoKoncert BEMUS, Belgrade, Serbia; Teatro Manzoni, Milano, Italy; Etna Fest, Catania, Italy; Laguna Beach Music Festival, CA

 

AS SLEEP BEFELL (2008)

Instrumentation: For Soprano, Clarinet, String Quartet, Bass and Percussion

Commission: The Whitney Museum

Performers: VisionIntoArt Ensemble

Performance Dates: Premiere 05.18.05 Whitney Museum at Altria, NY; 03.25.05 BAM Cafe, NY; 02.02.05 Dickinson College, PA

 

TRAVELING SONGS (2007)

Instrumentation: For Soprano, Clarinet, String Quartet, Bass and Percussion

Commission: VisionIntoArt Presents

Performers: VisionIntoArt Ensemble

Performance Dates: 11.22.09 Galapagos Art Space, NY; Live Premiere 05.27.05 Whitney Museum at Altria, NY; subsequent performances at Joe’s Pub, NY; JugoKoncert BEMUS, Belgrade, Serbia; Teatro Manzoni, Milano, Italy; Etna Fest, Catania, Italy

 

BODY MAPS (2007)

Instrumentation: Soprano, Cello and Electronics

Commission: The Whitney Museum

Performers: VisionIntoArt Ensemble

Performance Dates: 05.06.2007 The Whitney Live, NY

 

ARMENIA (2006)  

Instrumentation: String Quartet, Electronics and Live Installation

Commission: Awakening Concert commission, The Kronos Quartet

Performers: The Kronos Quartet

Performance Dates: 09.23.11 The Brooklyn Academy of Music

 

DISCOGRAPHY

SOUND OF SCIENCE: FROM BONES TO FOSSILS, Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, National Sawdust Tracks (2018)

VOICES OF WOMEN, FROM UNKNOWN TO RENOWN: STILL, Affettto Records (2018)

STRONG SAD: VENT8O E SOLE, Violist Jonah Sirota, National Sawdust  Tracks (2018)

AGING MAGICIAN, VIA Records (2017)

THE HUBBLE CANTATA, VIA Records (2017)

THE COLORADO, VIA Records (2016)

LABYRINTH, VIA Records (2015)

SOMETHING OF LIFE, Innova/VIA Records (2014)

OCEANIC VERSES, VIA Records ( 2014)

BODY MAPS, Tzadik Records (2008)

WITHOUT, Kronos Quartet film score, On The Fly Films (2009)

SOUNDS, VIA Records (2009)

TRAVELING SONGS, VIA Records (2009)

MAP TO COLLABORATION, Arcana III, Musicians on Music. Hips Road, edited by John Zorn (2008)

VIOLA SOLO: SYMPATHIQUE, Violist Melia Watras, Flor de Son label (2006)

 

AWARDS AND HONORS

Honoree American Composers Orchestra, 40th Anniversary Gala, New York, NY, 2017

Musical America’s “Top 30 Musical Innovators 2016″

Microsoft “People Who Inspire” Campaign, International, 2016

Honoree the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Brooklyn, NY, 2015

NEA Grantee for The River Project: The Amazon, Labyrinth Installation Concertos, The Colorado, and Aging Magician, 2014-17

NEFA Awardee for Aging Magician, 2014

Awardee ASCAP Victor Herbert Career Award, 2014

Awardee New York State Council on the Arts, Individual Artist Grants, 2006-2009

First prize in the Marimba/Cello Duo category Classical Marimba League Composition Competition 2009

Awardee Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans 1999-2001

 

TEACHING/NON PROFIT EXPERIENCE

National Sawdust, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, Brooklyn, NY 2010-present

VisionIntoArt, Founding Director, New York, NY 2001-present

Through VisionIntoArt and National Sawdust (NS), Prestini has presided over a prestigious board including luminaries in the financial, philanthropic and foundation worlds. Through VisionIntoArt she commissioned and produced over one hundred multimedia productions in all types of venues, nationally and internationally. Since opening National Sawdust, she has presided over 700 performances for more than 60,000 people and caught the attention of some of the world’s most influential artists, thinkers and journalists for NS’ fresh approach to serving 21st-century artists and audiences. The New York Times has written that National Sawdust is “ideal for productions that revitalize the art form at a time when it could use some shaking up,”and  the New Yorker has called it “a smashing success”. Prestini helped complete the sixteen million dollar capital campaign for National Sawdust,  and has managed programming, communication, development, and partnerships since its inception. She currently oversees a 4 million budget. Prestini has also presided over several initiatives: the creation of VIA Records, hailed by Q2 as “an essential new voice in the future of American classical music”, The Log, NS’ online publication heralded by veteran journalist, Steve Smith, and The Hildegard Competition, created to help women composers.