Composer Paola Prestini is co-founder and artistic director of the Brooklyn arts center National Sawdust. Since 1999, when she co-founded the multimedia production company VisionIntoArt (subsequently re-launched as National Sawdust Projects), she has collaborated with poets, filmmakers, and scientists in large-scale multimedia works. She was recently named an “Innovator” on the list of Top 30 Professionals of the Year by Musical America; she is on Brooklyn Magazine’s latest list of “influencers of Brooklyn culture … in perpetuity,” alongside US Senator Charles Schumer and film director Spike Lee; and is one of the Top 35 Female Composers in Classical Music (Washington Post). As part of her commitment to education and mentoring the next generation of musical artists, she started the Hildegard Competition for emerging female, trans, and non-binary composers.
Ms. Prestini’s works have been commissioned by and performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Barbican Centre, Cannes Film Festival, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera, Roomful of Teeth, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and Young People’s Chorus, among others. Her next steps include the following commissions: the grand opera Edward Tulane (Minnesota Opera), the chamber opera Sensorium Ex (Atlanta Opera and Beth Morrison Projects), and the foley chamber opera Stellet Licht (Banff’s Opera in the 21st Century). She is writing a piano concerto for Awadagin Pratt and A Far Cry, and is working on music for The Amazon, a documentary and arts event (and follow up to Murat Eyuboglu’s The Colorado). She has collaborated with artists such as writers Mark Campbell, Rinde Eckert, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Royce Vavrek; astrophysicist Mario Livio and conservationist William deBuys; VR writer and director Eliza McNitt; throat singer Tanya Tagaq; directors Julian Crouch and Robert Wilson; and musicians including Helga Davis and Jeffrey Zeigler. She has been a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow and a Sundance Fellow.