It’s a goddamn classy joint. A miniature BAM that looks like a spaceship. A classical music think tank. A creative hub for undiscovered talent. And it’s a non-profit. But you know, there will also be a bar and stuff. Photographer Scott Heins dropped by the 13,000-square-foot space for a preview today, and reports back that the main room has been specifically designed as a space for artists’ rehearsals, recording, and live performance—”every last detail of its acoustic-paneled walls, light fixtures, and rafters have been made with music in mind.” The main room is both recording studio and music hall, with acoustics fitting for both, and at least eight inches of solid concrete separates National Sawdust’s main room from the street outside.
The idea is that the entire artistic process can be brought to life and come full circle in this one space, from the birth of an idea to its first performance. Heins noted that “architects and creative directors hoped to recreate the European classical tradition Chamber Hall commissions, during which composers would write, revise and perform all in the same concert hall.” Artists in residence will also serve as curators, bringing in new talent.
Tonight, they’re wrapping up a Terry Riley Festival and here are some other highlights for October:
TERRY RILEY FESTIVAL: VOL 4
Oct 5, 2015 • 7pm
For the National Sawdust opening weekend, in celebration of National Sawdust advisory board member Terry Riley’s 80th birthday, Matmos, John Zorn, and Roomful of Teeth, along with Riley’s son, the virtuoso guitarist Gyan Riley, will perform a range of the iconic composer’s music. On this evening, there will be two world premieres: Remember This, Oh Mind, and Madrigal, a new work for Roomful of Teeth. Additionally, ArchAngels, for cello octet led by National Sawdust curator Jeffrey Zeigler will be performed.
JOHN ZORN FESTIVAL: COBRA
Oct 10, 2015 • 10pm
Cobra, featuring Mark Feldman (violin), Okkyung Lee (cello), Jeffrey Zeigler (cello), Ikue Mori (electronics), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), Brian Marsella (keyboards), Eyal Maoz (guitar), Marc Ribot (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Ches Smith (drums/vibes), Kenny Wollesen (drums/vibes), and John Zorn (prompter)
I.E. GLOBAL PRESENTS: MAJICAL CLOUDZ
Oct 21, 2015 • 8pm
In 2013, the Canadian musical-performance art project Majical Cloudz released Impersonator via touchstone indie label, Matador, garnering praise from tastemaker and mainstream media as one of the best and most notable albums of the year. Since then, principal writer and vocalist Devon Welsh has been fastidiously crafting the band’s second studio album, while simultaneously touring the world with producer Matthew Otto.
Majical Cloudz first began gaining larger recognition around their Turns Turns Turns EP in 2012 and soon after signed to Matador. In addition to being nominated for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize, Impersonator received critical praise from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Stereogum, VICE, Flavorwire, Earmilk and more. In 2014, the duo was recruited by teenage pop phenom Lorde as the opening act for her North American tour, taking their intimate stage setup to theaters across the continent. Their incredible conceptual live performance – somber in tone with moments of silliness; Pagliacci-esque – gained notoriety from Billboard, Grantland, and Pitchfork and was described by Lorde as “one of the most simple and moving things I have seen, ever”.
Check out the full calendar at nationalsawdust.org.