Please note that tonight's show starts at 8pm with doors at 6:30pm. Tickets are still available, so join us for the subversive queer cabaret V Town!
With eight operas, five symphonies, and two Guggenheim Fellowships to his name, it's safe to say that William Grant Still (1895–1978) was kind of a big deal. An influential intellectual and friend to Langston Hughes, Still was a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, and much of his music is indebted to that revolutionary cultural ferment. Still's classical education included everything from stuffy conservative conservatory teachers to the radical experimentalist Edgard Varèse, and he also worked for WC Handy and played in the pit orchestra for the initial run of Shuffle Along, a watershed moment for African–American musical theatre. For approximately two decades, his first symphony was the most frequently performed symphony by any American composer, but performances grew less frequent in the 1950s, possibly in response to a searing editorial Still penned accusing major classical institutions (and figures such as Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein) of entrenched racism; despite his towering influence during his lifetime, many of his works are not currently available on recordings. #SaturdaySpotlight
With electrifying performances from the likes of @ELEWRockJazz, @AliciaGrafMack, and @KingDMC, legendary soprano Jessye Norman's urgent new project celebrating the life and legacy of groundbreaking 19th-century opera star Sissieretta Jones is sure to be an unforgettable experience. We're offering an exclusive sneak peek of this interdisciplinary work in December, and tickets are on sale on our website now!
Some people try to claim that operas written by women are a modern invention, but such works have a long history — Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre was the first woman to have an opera produced in France, an accolade she secured with the premiere of her Céphale et Procris in 1694. Born into a family of instrument makers in 1665, de la Guerre was performing for King Louis XIV as an adolescent and made such an impression that critics were soon ranking her just below the King's official court composer. She was a wide-ranging and experimental artist at the time, writing ballets and cantatas in addition to her opera, publishing one of the few collections of harpsichord preludes issued in the 17th Century, and helping bring the instrumental sonata into Parisian musical life by being one of the first French composers to write in the form. Although some of her early works are now lost, a remarkable number of her scores were published in her lifetime and survive up to the present day. #SaturdaySpotlight
"Ferus" means "wild, untamed, not bound by staid convention", and that's exactly the kind of art we're putting forward in our January FERUS Festival: Art that pushes the envelope, challenges preconceptions, and fearlessly strikes out into the unknown. Watch this sneak peek trailer for our offerings, then head over to our website to buy tickets today!
Brooklyn non-profit @SonicArtsForAll is hosting a free workshop in December to give kids of all backgrounds a firm grounding in analog synthesis — check out these great clips from one of their earlier workshops, then head over to our website to reserve a spot for your kid today!
Australian–born and Brooklyn–based singer, writer, and multi-instrumentalist @KateKayEsMusic has made waves with a style all her own, leading her to work with the likes of James Morrison, Ghostface Killah, and Kesha. She's performing live at National Sawdust later this month, along with the introspective songwriter @JakeShermanWooo, and tickets are available on our website now!
A few new tickets just became available for internationally celebrated countertenor @ARCostanzo's spectacular Glass Handel extravaganza! Previously sold out, the show brings together iconic figures from the worlds of music, fashion, and visual art for a "dizzying art–fashion collaboration" (New York Magazine). Head to our website and get tickets today!
On November 15, come see the launch of "Against the Grain", Pulitzer Prize–winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon's new NationalSawdust+ series. Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Jennifer Egan, National Book Award–winning poet and Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture Kevin Young, and daring electronic/glitch duo Matmos read and perform. In partnership with the @LondonReviewOfBooks. Tickets are available on our website!
Pensive pianist @JeanMichelBlais combines conservatory skill with pop sensibility to create intimate worlds of dreamy piano and otherworldly synth. He's coming to National Sawdust later this month, and tickets are on sale on our website now!
Composer, conductor, and pianist Bright Sheng has had an illustrious career spanning decades and continents. Born in Shanghai in 1955, Sheng worked as a pianist and percussionist at a regional theatre near Tibet during China's Cultural Revolution, soaking up folk music from the region that would later form the foundation of his compositional style. Within a few years of his arrival in the United States, he was named composer-in-residence at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and his most recent operatic offering played a sold-out month-long run in San Francisco in 2016. A MacArthur Foundation Fellow, Sheng has taught at the University of Michigan since 1995, and his dedication to education has led him to found an annual music festival in Hong Kong. #SaturdaySpotlight
NEW TICKETS! @ARCostanzo's extraordinary, interdisciplinary Glass Handel was formerly entirely sold out, but a limited number of additional tickets have just been released per each show. Head over to our website and buy yours so you can see this "hour of pure entertainment" (Washington Post) for yourself!
Composer, violinist, and National Sawdust Curator @DanielRoumain has been hailed as "about as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets" by the New York Times. A relentlessly interdisciplinary artist, DBR blends funk, rock, hip-hop, and classical music into an intoxicating blend that's all his own. He's worked with everyone from DJ Spooky to the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, and his commitment to educating the next generation has led him to develop relationships with universities around the country. Check out his Curator page on our website for more info, and keep your eyes out for his upcoming shows!
Celebrate National #OperaWeek with a look back at @ARCostanzo's production of Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo and a sneak peek at Angélica Negrón's (@little_miss_echo) forthcoming Chimera, currently under development as one of our Projects-in-Residence!