The annual NYC Musical Saw Festival was established by founder/director Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz in 2002.
The NYC Musical Saw Festival is held in Astoria (Queens), NYC every other summer. The festival brings together musical saw players from all over NYC, the US and abroad and aims to preserve the past, honor the present and help shape the future of the 300 year old art form of making music with a carpenter’s handsaw. Astoria has become a pilgrimage place for saw players from such far away countries as China, Japan, India, Germany, Sweden and Canada.
The festival enables saw players to meet other saw players and hear them play, perform solos and jam with others, learn about different types of saws and discover different techniques of playing – all in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.
The festival is open to the public at large who can learn about the musical saw and enjoy a unique concert featuring the angelic sounds of the musical saw.
Another part of the festival is an art exhibit featuring the musical saw.
There is also a workshop for musical saw players.
* In 2009 the NYC Musical Saw Festival set a new Guinness World Record of the ‘Largest Musical Saw Ensemble’, with 53 musical saw players playing together.
* In 2010 New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation honoring the festival.
* In 2011 New York State Assemblymember Aravella Simotas presented the festival with a citation of honor for “9 years of artistic excellence”.
A tradition which has evolved at the Musical Saw Festival over the years is that the sawist traveling the farthest in order to attend is considered the ‘guest of honor’. Past guests of honor at the Musical Saw Festival:
2003 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Weiss, musical saw player from California
2004 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Kawagoochi, musical saw player from Japan
2005 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Minden, musical saw player from Canada
2006 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Gershom, musical saw player from India
2007 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Chen, musical saw player from China
2008 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Bardach, musical saw player from Germany
2009 Musical Saw Festival – Ms. Kitamoto & Mr. Kawagoochi from Japan
2010 Musical Saw Festival – Ms. Park, Ms. Konishi & Ms. Nakahigashi from Japan
2011 Musical Saw Festival – Mr. Gershom, musical saw player from India
The festival started in 2003 with participation of 5 musical saw players. By 2009 it grew to 54 musical saw players!
About founder/director Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz:
affectionately known as the ‘Saw Lady‘, has spent over a decade bringing the rare art form of playing music on a carpenter’s saw to audiences around the world.
She performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta, at the Spoleto Festival in the orchestra of ‘Monkey – Journey to the West’, with the Westchester Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Air Moroccan Symphony Orchestra, the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, the Riverside Orchesra, the Amor Artis Orchestra, and at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall with PDQ Bach composer Peter Schickele and with the Little Orchestra Society. November 2007 marked her Carnegie Hall debut as a musical saw soloist and June 2008 marked her Madison Square Garden debut.
Television appearances include FOX (Good Day New York), ABC (Good Morning America), NBC (New York Live), MTV (Andy Milonakis Show), VH1 (Behind the Music), History Channel (Tool Box), PBS (Music Under New York – Emmy award winner), MSG (NYC Soundtracks – Emmy award winner).
Film appearances include ‘Dummy‘ with Adrian Brody. Natalia’s saw can be heard on the soundtracks of films such as ‘El Carnaval Sodoma’/Arthuro Ripstein, ‘I Sell the Dead’, ‘Another Earth’ and ‘American Carny’.
Radio performances include NPR (A Prairie Home Companion), XM Satelite Radio, WFMU & WBAI.
Natalia received citations of honor from the New York City Council, the New York State Senate and a medal of honor from Paris, France and is mentioned in 7 books including ‘City Lights’/St. Martin’s Press and ‘New York Curiosities’/Globe Pequot Press.
She was chosen by Time Out New York, the Village Voice, the New York Press and the New York Resident for their Best of New York lists, and was featured in articles by the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Daily News, Newsday and Metro New York.
Natalia has recorded on Capitol Records, Universal Records and Atlantic Records with such artists as John Hiat and she is a recipiant of grants from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the The New York State Council on the Arts.
Natalia’s musical saw can be heard on TV commercials, including spots for Volvo, Motorola, Chex Mix & California Cheese.
Natalia’s goal is not only to preserve the rare art form of playing music on a saw, but to also try and push it forward through the invention of better playing technique, fine-tuning the instrument, educating composers about the possibilities of composing for saw, and bringing the instrument to public awareness. This last part, bringing the instrument into public awareness, she does not only through performances on the legitimate stage/TV/radio but also by bringing the music of the musical saw directly to people where people are – on the street. By performing in the subway she brings the art form to people who might not otherwise be able to encounter it.
Musical saw players wishing to participate:
If you would like to participate as a saw player or as a member of the audience, please send us your name, e-mail address and whether you are a saw player or not.