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. Prestini also serves as the creative director of the soon-to-open Original Music Workshop (OMW) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
You can hear the singular beauty of Paola Prestini’s weave — and waves — in the newly released recording of her Oceanic Verses.
Prestini’s style weaves folk melodies and field samples with massive choral sections reminiscent of some forgotten Renaissance Mass, all filtered through her own distinctive musical language… the overall effect is engaging and quite moving. The major themes of transformation, immigration and culturally complex, layered ethnicity seem to resonate both on a macro level in the age of globalization, as well as on a micro level in what Prestini calls the search for “internal geography.”
Q2, of WQXR on Oceanic Verses, Album of the Week
Next is Listen, Quiet by Paola Prestini, an unexpectedly catchy track featuring Jason Treuting of So Percussion. It’s not so much music for solo cello as it is a fantastically quirky percussion piece with a cello narrator. An expert welder of elements, Prestini cuts in recordings of women’s voices in a way that’s vaguely reminiscent of The Books’ Lemon of Pink album.
Paola Prestini combines wild imagination and controlled practicality on an almost molecular level—it’s as if both are fused together in her DNA.
The evening was kicked off by composer, mover and shaker Paola Prestini, a curator of the annual River to River festival and creative director of the Brooklyn-based Original Music Workshop.
New York Classical Review
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. She’s also creative designer for the Original Music Workshop – a new “artistic incubator” slated to open in Williamsburg, Brooklyn next year.
Q2 Music on WQXR
Last week’s world premiere at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts of “Labryinth Installation Concertos: House of Solitude and Room No. 35″ went over really well. After it ended, I heard nothing but praise from the audience. The LED panels on her [Maya Beiser's] cello lit up with abstract, colorful images and responded to her movements and music — at one point the rays on the LED panels seemingly extended out on to the projection screen behind Beiser.
The images on the projection screen of human eyes, cells, two embracing women nude from the waist up… and other visuals were dreamy and beautiful.
Labyrinth installation dazzles, stuns… the innovative Labyrinth Installation Concertos premiered at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, taking viewers on a journey layered with tantalizing visual and audial stimuli.
The Daily Illini
Prestini’s Distance to the Market, with libretto by Donna Di Novelli (commissioned by the Opera America Songbook last year to honor the National Opera Center’s new home), displayed the composer’s fluency in through composed song form. In a childhood memory, a boy (sung by the smoothly reliable baritone Christopher Burchett joined by the equally reliable pianist Stephen Gosling) watches his father carry a basket to market and anxiously awaits his return.
Musical America on Distance to the Market
The Music of the Hubble Space Telescope
“the music was ace.”
The Wall Street Journal
“well wrought…upbeat and enthralling.”
“Hubble Cantata…a work of extraordinary beauty.”
“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.”
The New York Times
“Mr. Lubovitch’s new “As Sleep Befell” made for a better match with Ms. Prestini’s music. At the center of a semicircle of string, wind and percussion players stood the vocalist Helga Davis, a kind of murmuring angel. Six shirtless male dancers were arrayed out in front of her on the ground, tossing and turning handsomely to Ms. Prestini’s atmospherics, as if in a shared dream…[it was] visually arresting.”
New York Times
“soft, intoxicating, comforting, and wonderfully agrodolce…set with straightforward directness in the beginning, with the pain of sexual longing in the middle, and finally with exuberance… flexible in rhythm but staunchly wired to the text, each musical twist was welcomed for its unexpectedness and innovation”
Kickstarter’s Best of 2012
Kickstarter 2012 Annual Report
“Oceanic Verses” and “Aging Magician” are brilliant.”
The Washington Post
“The composer-impresario continues to stoke interest…”
The New Yorker
“The Aging Magician is grandly, even venerably, operatic…[from the composer] who wrote the acclaimed Oceanic Verses.”
“Paola has a keen nose for talent…”
Art Experience NYC
“a sweeping social portrait of southern Italy.” …”the songs and choral settings are painted in the bright hues and varied rhythms of folk exotica.”…
“Their video counterparts in an artful… film.”
Allan Kozinn of the NY Times
“Making Waves with New ‘Oceanic’ Opera”
The Wall Street Journal
“Paola Prestini, and her creative team have high ambitions…[and] common sense about what works onstage: characters you can connect to, music that engages.”
“The layering of ideas and music knited together to present something that moves forward with the vitality of the original folk material.”
“Here’s an interesting idea: Two of the four characters, the Peasant and the Soldier, are opera singers (Christopher Burchett and Nancy Allen Lundy); they represent… the life of the past, and their love story turns out to be sweet, simple and touching. Their old-fashioned, trained sound is juxtaposed with that of a folk singer, the Sailor (Claudio Prima), and an improviser, the archaeologist (Helga Davis, who dug into her lower register as an archaeologist digs into the soil): the rougher voices of the present day.”
“a cohesive 80-minute package.”
“the applause, at the end, was long and loud”
Anne Midgette of Washington Post
“Ms. Prestini – an inventive composer whose style mixes the ancient and the up-to-date, the folk inspired and the artfully polished”
Alan Kozinn of The New York Times
Time Out New York
“an inquisitively progressive piece.”
“[baritone Chris Burchett's] depth and focus is quite beautiful.”
“This is, I think, what will make us want to see this again and again- we’ll take something completely new from it each time we see it.”
“Overall, I must and I will see this project in its entirety… it’s a gem.”
“Stunning Multimedia opera”
“Opera in multiple media”
The Berkshire Eagle
“The River to River Festival scores a substantial coup with the fully staged New York premiere of a multimedia opera composed by VisionIntoArt visionary-in-chief Paola Prestini, produced in conjunction with the intrepid Beth Morrison Projects.”
Time Out New York
“forged an enigmatic détente…potent…soulful.”
New York Times
“Músicos, compositores, escritores y cantantes narrarán dramas actuales mediante la ópera”
“Introducing Paola Prestini”
“The VOX audience rose to their feet only once and that was for Oceanic Verses, an opera that pays tribute to Italian folk music across time and geography.”
“radiant…[and] amorously evocative.”
Steve Smith, New York Times
“VisionIntoArt presents Traveling Songs and VioLens”
“Ear to Ear: Paola Prestini”
“The vision thing”