Paola Prestini is “the enterprising composer and impresario” (The New York Times) behind the new Brooklyn venue National Sawdust and the ”Visionary-In-Chief” (Time Out NY) of the production company VisionIntoArt (VIA), home to VIA Records. Named one of NPR’s “Top 100 Composers in the World under 40,” her compositions are deemed “radiant… amorously evocative” by The New York Times, and ”spellbinding” by The Washington Post. She has collaborated with poets, filmmakers, conservationists, and astrophysicists in multi-media works that have been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, the New York Philharmonic, and the Kronos Quartet, and have premiered at BAM, the Krannert Center, the Walker Art Center, and Celebrate Brooklyn. Her music is released on VIA Records, Innova, and Tzadik. She studied at the Juilliard School and was a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow for New Americans.


TWO OARS (2018) Opera for soloists, Choir, Ensemble. Directed by Robert Wilson. VisionIntoArt/NS commission.
CINDY SHERMAN FILM STILLS (2017) for soprano and ensemble, featuring Eve Gigliotti, directed by RB Schlather, libretto by Royce Vavrek. Commissioned by National Sawdust. Performances at National Sawdust and the Broad, LA.
THE HOTEL THAT TIME FORGOT (2017) for orchestra and video installation by video artist Mami Kosemura, for Carnegie Hall. American Composers Orchestra Commission.
HUBBLE CANTATA (2016) for 2 operatic soloists, choir and orchestra featuring Nathan Gunn and Jessica Rivera, the Washington Chorus and 1B1 ensemble. Libretto by Royce Vavrek with astrophysicist Mario Livio. Performed at Celebrate Brooklyn. VisionIntoArt/NS commission.
LA PHILHARMONIC/21c LIEDERABEND (2016) Hubble Cantata excerpt.
GILGAMESH (2016) grand opera, for 5 opera soloists, adult chorus, children’s chorus and orchestra. Libretto by Cerise Jacobs. Performed at the Cutler Majestic, Boston Celebrity Series. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects. Commissioned by Friends of Madam Whitesnake.
THE COLORADO (2016) for vocal octet, percussion and cello, featuring Roomful of Teeth, Glenn Kotche and Jeffrey Zeigler; film by Murat Eyuboglu. Performed at the Met Museum, Stanford Live, MASS MoCA. VisionIntoArt commission.
MASS RE-IMAGININGS (2016) for choir and ensemble. Poetry by Brenda Shaughnessy. Commissioned by CHOIR OF TRINITY WALL STREET.
EPIPHANY (2015) for choir, string quartet, and marimba. Performed at BAM’s NEXT WAVE Festival featuring Young People’s Chorus, ACME, and Ian Rosenbaum. Libretto by Niloufar Talebi, film Ali Hossaini. Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music and Young People’s Chorus.
AGING MAGICIAN (2015-16) music theater work for singing actor, string quartet, and chorus. Featuring Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Rinde Eckert, performed by the ACME and Attacca Quartets. Direction and design by Julian Crouch. In residence at the Park Avenue Armory and MASS MoCA. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and VisionIntoArt. Performed at the Walker Arts Center and Krannert Center. Supported by the NEA, NEFA and a Walker Art Center/Krannert Center commission.
IRVING KLEIN COMPETITION PIECES (2015). Solo Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass works. Commissioned by the Irving Klein Competition.
FRANCESCA DEPASQUALE (2015) Solo violin with electronics. Commissioned by dePasquale and the Leonore Annenburg Scholarship Fellowship.
8 TAKES for the NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC Biennale (2014) solo cello, featuring Sumire Kudo. Commissioned by the New York Philharmonic.
LABYRINTH: ROOM NO. 35 (2014) cello installation concerto with electronics featuring Maya Beiser with Erika Harrsch. Performed at the Krannert Center and Isabella Stewart Garner Museum. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and VisionIntoArt. Commissioned by Krannert Center and VisionIntoArt.
OCEANIC VERSES (2012-13) folk opera for four soloists, choir and mixed ensemble. Performed at New York City Opera VOX, Zankel Hall, Bard College, the Kennedy Center, River to River and the Barbican with BBC orchestra, Washington Chorus. Carnegie Hall Commission.
21C LIEDERABEND (2009, 2011, 13) VisionIntoArt at Galapagos Art Space, The Kitchen and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Co-producer with Beth Morrison Projects.
DE DEO (2011) new opera with Donna Di Novelli, Word First program New York City Opera VOX, NY.
HOUSE OF SOLITUDE (2011-12) violin installation concerto featuring Cornelius Dufallo with film by Carmen Kordas. Performed at UCSF Strings in the 21st Century, River to River festival, SUNY Fredonia, Harare festival in Zimbabwe, the Krannert Center, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and VisionIntoArt. Commissioned by the Krannert Center.
SPELL (2011) for harp, vibes and cello with electronics (flexible trio). Performed by the Chicago Symphony Music Now. Commissioned by WNYC.
LISTEN, QUIET (2010) for cello and percussion. Performed for the opening of the Willson Theater. Commissioned by the Juilliard School.
WAKE UP (2010) for singing pianist. Performed at Issue Project Room featuring Gabriel Kahane. Commissioned by MATA.
LITTLE STARS (2009) for soprano and piano. Performed at Weill Hall/Carnegie Hall. Commissioned by Concert Artist Guild/Sarah Wolfson.
VIOLENS (2008) or soprano, clarinet, quartet, bass and percussion. Performed at PS 122 Coil Festival, Performance Space 122. Commissioned by Concert Artist Guild/Cary Trust’s Contemporary Music Project Commission.
SOUNDS (2007-2009) for soprano, clarinet, quartet, bass and percussion. Performed by VisionIntoArt and the Claremont Trio, at the Whitney Live, EtnaFest, Italy, Teatro Manzoni, Milano, and Laguna Beach Music Festival Performance. Commissioned by WNYC.
AS SLEEP BEFELL (2008) for soprano, clarinet, quartet, bass and percussion. Performed by VisionIntoArt at the Whitney at Altria Resonant Spaces. Commissioned by the Whitney Museum.
TRAVELING SONGS (2007) for soprano, clarinet, quartet, bass and percussion. Performed by VisionIntoArt at Joes Pub, NY, NY, & JugoKoncert BEMUS, Belgrade, Serbia. VisionIntoArt Presents Commission.
BODY MAPS (2007) soprano and cello and electronics. Performed at and commissioned by the Whitney Museum.
ARMENIA (2006) string quartet and electronics. Performed by the Kronos Quartet, Awakening Concert commission. Performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music.
DEMOCRAZY LECTURES (2002-2003) Keynote performance, Council on Foundations, the Thomas S. Kenan Institute, VisionIntoArt Presents.
SOLITUDE (2001) for mixed choir. Commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra for the Immigrant Voices Series.


Map to Collaboration, Arcana III, Musicians on Music. Hips Road, edited by John Zorn (2008)
Bootstraps: online guides to musicianship, New York State Alliance on the Arts (2007-2008)
To be on not to be a 501c(3), New Music Box (2006)


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, VisionIntoArt release (2009)
Traveling Songs, VisionIntoArt release (2009)
Sympathique, Viola Solo Melia Watras, Flor de Son label (2006)


Samuel Adler Juilliard Master of Music (1998-2000)
Robert Beaser Juilliard Bachelor of Music (1995-1998)
The Peabody Conservatory (1993-1995)
Sir Peter Maxwell Davies Course for Young Composers (1996)
La Schola Cantorum (Summer Study, Paris 1999)
Interlochen Arts Academy (High School 1991-1993)
Composition Studies
Claude Bonet & Philp Lasser La Schola Cantorum (1999)

Awards and Honors

NEA Three grants for Labyrinth, The Colorado, and Aging Magician (2014-2015)
NEFA Award for Aging Magician (2014)
ASCAP Victor Herbert Career Award (2014)
New York State Council on the Arts, Individual Artist Grant (2006, 2009)
First prize in the Marimba/Cello Duo category Classical Marimba League Composition Competition (2009)
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Grant Award (2009)
American Music Center CAP Grant (2004, 2007, 2008, 2010)
The Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust for New Music Grant (2008)
Trust for Mutual Understanding Grant (2008)
Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Grant/Swing Space Award (2006)
Monumental Brass Quintet Womens Commissioning Award (2003)
ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (2002)
Whitaker Reading Sessions, American Composers Orchestra (2000)
Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans (1999-2001)

Executive Experience

Through VisionIntoArt and National Sawdust (NS), Prestini has presided over a prestigious board including some of the luminaries in the financial, philanthropic and foundation worlds. She has managed a 19 person team and has produced over one hundred multimedia productions in all types of venues, nationally and internationally and has directed performance, recording, and education programs. In opening season at National Sawdust she oversaw 250+ performances that included the presentation of over 60 commissions to more than 25,000 patrons.

Prestini helped complete the sixteen million dollar capital campaign for National Sawdust and has managed communications, development, operations, programming, partnerships, and finance departments.