Interior of National Sawdust, New York. Designed by Bureau V. Photography by Floto + Warner

Interior of National Sawdust, New York. Designed by Bureau V. Photography by Floto + Warner


Opening in October 2015, National Sawdust will be a dynamic home for artists and new music of all kinds. It will be a place for exploration and discovery—where emerging and established artists can share their music with serious music fans and casual listeners alike. In a city teeming with venues, National Sawdust is a singular space founded with an expansive vision: to provide composers and musicians across genres with a setting in which they can flourish, and a place where they are given unprecedented support and critical resources essential to create, and then share, their work.

In addition to hosting rehearsals, performances, recordings and broadcasts in state-of-the art facilities, National Sawdust will commission new works and will arrange workshops and residencies. It aims to be a resource not only for the community of musicians, but also for audiences in search of remarkable musical experiences. For the local community, National Sawdust will create progressive public programs and educational initiatives. Other offerings will include talks, publications and mentorship programs for composers and musicians, and for related fields.

A diversity of world-class artists, arts organizations, and institutions will collaborate with the composer Paola Prestini, National Sawdust Creative and Executive Director, to develop work and program performances. The New York Times has written that 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.”

National Sawdust, designed by Brooklyn’s Bureau V, is housed and constructed within the existing shell of a century-old sawdust factory, preserving the authenticity of Williamsburg’s industrial past while providing a refined and intimate setting for the exploration of new music. At National Sawdust’s core is a flexible chamber hall, acoustically designed by renowned engineering firm ARUP to provide the highest-quality experience of both unamplified and amplified music.

National Sawdust’s founder is Kevin Dolan, a tax attorney and amateur musician and composer. Rick D’Avino is President and Board Chairman. The Board of Directors includes Adam Abeshouse, Dan Breen, Courtenay Casey, Jean Pierre Chesse, Valerie Dillon, Randy Ezratty, Chris Grymes, Richard Kessler, Roger Krulak, Harvey Mogenson, Michelle Nakash, Paola Prestini, Natalia Schwien, R. Adam Smith, Jill Steinberg, Jeremy Turner and Peter Zuspan. The National Sawdust Advisory Board, chaired by Richard Kessler, includes Laurie Anderson, Helena Christensen, James Murphy, Nico Muhly, Elena Park, Terry Riley, Limor Tomer and Suzanne Vega.

Last updated: June 29, 2015


Blake Zidell