National Sawdust Celebrated “A Moment Of Disruption” At The Alhambra Ballroom

The Knockturnal

This past Thursday, National Sawdust, the Brooklyn-based performance venue and a recording studio, raised funds to support its mission of continuing to build new audiences for classical and new musicians by honoring several internationally renowned artists for its 2018 Spring Gala at the uptown Alhambra Ballroom.  

This year’s theme, “movement of disruption,” demonstrated the power of art to disrupt and challenge the musical landscape of today. Honorees of the night included countertenor and operatic trailblazer Anthony Roth Costanzo; mezzo-soprano and arts advocate Joyce DiDonato; Grammy-nominated vocalist and UN Women activist Magos Herrera; Emmy-nominated genre-bending composer, violinist, and arts leader Daniel Bernard Roumain; award-winning throat singer and activist Tanya Tagaq; and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and multi-instrumentalist Du Yun.  The gala was chaired by Ann Ziff, hosted by Jill Steinberg, and emceed by Terrance McKnight.

The evening featured impressive performances, including a rare collaboration inspired from the text of Frank O’Hara’s “Opening hymn: To the poem” by composer and violinist Daniel Bernard Roumain, vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding, former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler​ and dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones. Other performances included Magos Herrera and string quartet Brooklyn Rider performing “Niña-Poem” by Octavio Paz with music by Herrera & Felipe Perez Santiago; Procession & Scene III “Feathers are Prickly” from Du Yun’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera Angel’s Bone performed by choral group The Crossing, featuring Michael Nicolas of Brooklyn Rider providing cello drone; Anthony Roth Costanzo and banjoist Noam Pikelny (The Punch Brothers) performing George Frideric Handel’s “Lascia Ch’io Pianga;” a selection from Paola Prestini’s Body Maps performed by soprano Marguerite Jones and cellists Jeffrey Zeigler, Michael Nicolas, and Marika Hughes​; Tanya Tagaq, Yuka C. Honda​, and Jeffrey Zeigler performed a collaborative improv.

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11 hours ago

We will remember it, as well!! https://t.co/YTp5KRyCLU

11 hours ago

Thank you, Nicola! https://t.co/K5KQ9KgBPI

11 hours ago

Thank you so much, Steffi. We are so happy it was such a profound experience for you. https://t.co/a3imVhW4cN

FOLLOW Joyce DiDonato


In the midst of #chaos, how do you find #peace? #inwarandpeace #talkpeace #dopeace #bepeace @ilpdo

Bon Dia, World!!! Back on tour from today with #inwarandpeace, ready to pick up our quest for harmony!! @fcgulbenkian @ilpdo #vivaportugal #TalkPeace #DoPeace #BePeace

What glorious human beings. It was he privilege of a lifetime to honor this amazing woman, Frederica Von Stade, recognizing the priceless contributions she makes to her community and to the world last night in San Francisco. Of course, it couldn’t have happened without the tireless and ever-inspiring Jake Heggie. I floated out of there convinced the love in that room (and the amazing young talent) can save the world!!! #ibelieve #musicismagic #SANFRANSISCOCOMMUNITYMUSICCENTER

What an unforgettable experience, bringing Massenet’s storybook opera #Cendrillon to the stage of the @metopera for the first time in its storied history. It has been a dream to sing about love while surrounded by so much of it - from the cast and crew, to the @metoperachorus, @metorchestra, to YOU the audience, who laughed and cried with us all. I’ll never tire of this story, a wonderful balm for the world. A billion thanks to everyone involved, most especially my #PrinceCharming, @alice.coote! #OperaIsMagic #happilyeverafter #firstandprobablylastmetstageselfie

#Cinderella #Red #Couture #OperaRocks #OperaFashion @metopera @metoperasupers @metoperachorus There are no words to describe the joy that has been this show. Merçi a tous!!!!!

#sisters and #fairies and #gowns, OH MY!!!!!

#howtobackstage @metopera @metoperachorus #cendrillon #thriller? #operaismagic #operaiswhack

#cinders.......time to say goodbye.....😭😭😭

What a bunch of #disruptors!! Loved being honored as one of them last night at the inspiring @nationalsawdust gala. (It also felt like #prom with the tireless and innovative @arcostanzo!) And for the record? @esperanzaspalding is #everything. So is #TerrenceMcNally - as soulful a disruptor as ever there was!!!! @elenalumahai @tomkirdahy #creation #arttransforms #shakeyourselfupfromtheinside

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There will always be more freedom to acquire and more truth to uncover.

~ Joyce DiDonato