Reactions to the 2013 Musical Saw Festival

Musical saw Festival participants
Photographer: Joseph Peknik III

I was glad I could make it… my first one. I was very impressed by all everything. The way it’s put together and run, it flows very well. And you make it look effortless.
Chris P.
NY

Natalia! thank you so much for this awesome experience.
Your passion is magnetic and I’m glad we’ve made contact.
Matt T.
NY

It was great seeing old faces and new and hearing some fantastic playing at the festival today! Nice job as always, Natalia! Thanks for all your hard work.
Adam W.
Minnesota

Had a blast Natalia!!
Pianist/organist Judy D.
NY

Hi Natalia,
Thanks for everything today. I had to leave at 5:45 to get home to start writing, but I had a great time while I was there.
WSJ reporter Andy B.
NY

Natalia,
I just wanted to express again how much fun I had at the Saw Festival! It was an incredible experience.
Walker P.
Iowa

i had a wonderful time. learned a lot. found out i’m not half-bad but there’s lots of great saws out there. and new and interesting styles etc. thanks natalia!
Tim E.
Michigan

I enjoyed yesterday’s festival. Glad I went!
Black P.
NY


Russia’s premier TV channel reported on the NYC Musical Saw Festival

Many many thanks to Natalia Paruz for organizing another wonderful day full of singing saws!
Christine S.
NY

Natalia, you rock! That was an amazing festival!
Tine K.
NY

Your festival was absolutely genius!! What an experience to hear you, original pieces, divine sounds, great organization and a very charming announcer. You are truly amazing and I was honored to be at your concert. Hugs from around the corner.
Barbara
NY

Hi Natalia,
Thank you! I really enjoyed meeting you and listening to the music on Saturday and wish I could have stayed longer. Thanks for having me, and congrats on a terrific event.
Jennifer W.
Wall Street Journal videographer
NY

A fun event as always, Natalia!
Pat M.
NY

I really enjoyed this event! it was great! – Congratulations to Natalia and to everyone involved in the organization of it, all your effort was reflected in a great result. :)
Charles L.
NY

Had the time of my life.. Was wonderful to meet you in person.. Thanx for all your hard work & everyone else who made this event possible…
Jeff J.
Arkansas

thoroughly enjoyable event, lovely to see folks from 2011 and to meet new players and performers.

Scott Munson’s new 4-piece work was outrageously wonderful, a joy to hear and the players–especially the saw player (Natalia)–the epitome of perfection.

Thank you Natalia and Scott and all your assistants for3a wonderful afternoon.
Best,
Poet Willa F.
NY

The Saw Festival turned out to be a full house. Great show a usual.
Debra M.
NY

Dear Natalia,
The 10th musical saw festival has again shown your talent for organization and your dedication to the presentation of the musical saw. Each year, I’ve met new friends and chatted with folks I had met in past years. I’ve heard the soloist present diverse styles and have been inspired by the playing. Although I had to leave somewhat early to catch my train, I left with a renewed spirit of inspiration. It was a memorable day and I look forward to next year’s festival!
Thank you for all your efforts,
Stew W.
PA

Think ya have Disneyland beat Natalia. Good work!
Jim L.
CA

Hey Natalia!

I just wanted to let you know what I great time we had!
Can’t wait for next year.
Again many thanks, I had a blast!
Sean T.
NY

Thank you for Saw Fest X, it was SO great!
DJ Bronwin C.
NY

Had a great time at the festival So looking forward to next year!!!!
It was such an awesome festival, so amazing in every way. Just amazing to have so many of us “musical sawyers” gathered together in one place. It was so nice to meet everyone!!
Sandi S.
Ohio

Dear Natalia,
First of all, congratulations with the success of your 10th festival. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and for me it was an experience of a lifetime.
It was nice to meet you and the other saw players.
Travelling from USA to RSA for a holliday is cheap because you can buy almost R10 for $1. For me it was the opposite and even though I had sponsors, I still had to spend R5 000 from my bank account, but it was worth it.
I obtained a copy of the Wall Street Journal and my sponsors are very pleased,maybe I will get sponsored again next year.
Hannes V.
South Africa

Hi Natalia,
thank you so much for having Adam Wirtzfeld and the Roe Family SIngers at the 10th Annual Saw Festival a few weeks ago on June 1. We had so much fun, as usual! I loved getting to hear so many different players from all over the world again this year. And I once again marveled at how, no matter when the festival is held, it always seems to be on the hottest day possible. ; )
We wish you continued success with your own performances and with the Saw Festival. Here’s hoping it lasts at least another ten years!
Be well,
Quillan R.
Minnesota

The Musical Saw Festival was a Gas- even more than the others I’ve been to- I saw a number of very artistic saw cases, and it seems that more and more good-lookin’ women are taking up the saw…of course I may have enjoyed it more since I got to sit in the back row with the bad kids….
George H.
New York

Hello Natalia,
Thank you so much for all of what you did for me in my recent New York trip.
I came back to Tokyo safely the day before yesterday. I really enjoyed 7 days of New York trip, especially the 10th NYC Musical Saw Festival. It was a great and special opportunity to be able to play musical saw in front of foreign audience for me and exchange friendship with US and international musical saw player. Especially it was a great pleasure that I could meet Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz, A person leading global musical saw scene.
I hope I can meet you again in the future.
Thank you again, Natalia and all the best,
Shinsaku M.
Japan

Hi Natalia,
I think Sawfest was great. I’ve known about it for a long time but this is the first time I came. Great space to have it in as well! One of those cool events that makes NYC great. I hope it continues to grow and grow.
Best,
Jason
NYC

Hey,
This is Mike Waldeck Jr. from the saw festival this summer. Thanks for having me at the musical saw festival. I had a blast. It’s great to meet other saw players and see that they are all great people as a whole. I feel blessed to be a part of the saw community now. That festival was the highlight of a very busy summer.
Mike
WV

Musical Saw Festival 2013

You’re invited to the 10th NYC Musical Saw Festival:

Musical Saw Festival 2013
Flyer art by Zina Saunders

Download the 2013 NYC Musical Saw Festival Flyer
Full page DOWNLOAD HERE
Two on a page DOWNLOAD HERE
Four on a page DOWNLOAD HERE

When: Saturday, June 1st, 2013, 2pm
Where: Trinity Church, 31-18 37th Street (37th Street at 31st Avenue), Astoria, NY

Church where the NYC Musical saw Festival takes place

How to get there:
Parking: Street
Public Transportation:
* ‘R’ subway train to Queens: Get off at the Steinway St, Station. Exit near intersection of Broadway and Steinway Street. Walk (2 blocks) west on Broadway towards 38th street. Turn right onto 37th St. Church is at the end of the block.
* ‘N’ or ‘Q’ subway train to Queens: Get off at the ‘Broadway’ stop. Walk on Broadway to 37th street (6 blocks). Turn left onto 37th street. Church is at the end of the block.
View Larger Map

Admission: $10

The NYC Musical Saw Festival recieved a proclamation from the Borough President of Queens, Helen Marshall, declaring June 1st 2013 ‘Musical Saw Festival Day’ in Queens!

Musical saw Festival Day

What:

* NATALIA ‘SAW LADY’ PARUZ, founder & organizer of the Musical Saw Festival, will present the musical saw as an ensemble instrument in music composed for film and TV

* Premier of new compositions for the musical saw by composers Ady Cohen and Scott Munson

* A musical saw art exhibit
Paintings by: Lisa Alonso Canellas, Shoshana Kertesz Hoyt, Yirmi Pinkus, Zina Saunders, Heidi Younger, Aaron Porter, Jamie Isenstein, Kenly Dillard, Rodney Bauer, Miriam Paskalski, Barrett Cobb, Alyssa Steele, Young Joo, Michael Watson, Kauri Sievers

* Musical saw poetry: poet Willa France will recite her poetry about the musical saw.

* Solos by musical saw players from around the world

* The ‘Chorus of the Saws’ (all participating musical saw players playing together, accompanied by piano).

* Musical saw workshops
Musical Saw Festival workshop instructor Olivier Doucet Musical saw player Olivier Doucet of Canada will teach a workshop about his unique technique. Points in the workshop:
Advantage of moving both ends of the saw
Approach of bowing based on fundamental physics (from light and fast to slow and heavy)
Fundamental difference between violin bow and musical saw bow
How to jump from note to note without glissando
How to avoid scratching sound
Edge modification & conditioning
Staccato on the saw
Modulating the sound level of a high note after playing a low note

musical saw player Doc George - photo by Pat Merino Musical saw player Doc George of NY will teach a workshop about the hammered musical saw.
musical saw player Mike Waldeck Jr Musical saw player Mike Waldeck Jr. of West Virginia will teach a workshop about miking the musical saw
musical saw player Thom EnoMusical saw player Thom Eno of Michigan will teach a Beginner Saw workshop (for people who have never played saw before) – covering how to hold the saw, picking a good saw and some basic theory with demonstrations and a chance for everyone to try to play a saw or two.

The musical saw player who travels the farthest in order to attend the festival is considered the “guest of honor”.

NYC Musical Saw Festival souvenir T-shirts will be available for purchase:
* new design (M, L, XL, – $20 each, XXL – $25)
* old design (only L available – $20 each).

Orange Musical Saw Festival t-shirt

Time Magazine’s report of the last Musical Saw Festival:



Musical saw players wishing to participate in the festival :
If you would like to participate as a saw player (whether as a soloist, a participant in the ‘Chorus of the Saws’ or to take the workshop) or as a member of the audience, please contact us through the ‘Contact’ page and send us your name, e-mail address and whether you are a saw player or not.


If you wish to sponsor the NYC Musical Saw Festival – please contact us.

Non musical saw musicians participating in the festival:

Ady CohenComposer ADY COHEN is a film composer who composed for the musical saw in his score for the award winning animation film ‘Strings’.
He also composes music for the stage, TV and the concert hall. He is the winner of the 2012 ACUM (Israeli ASCAP) Award for Best Score for a Children’s Film, and the 1998 Israeli Academy Award for Best Film Score. His career ignited with the help of the late Maestro Leonard Bernstein, who has been Ady’s patron and sponsored his studies at New York University where he graduated with Honors as a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Ady has composed over 30 film scores, among them: “Passover Fever”, “Song of the Siren”, “Dangerous Acts” and more. He has written the music for numerous theater plays, among them “The Imaginary Invalid”, “Night in Tel Aviv”, “Mr. Halpern and Mr. Johnson”, and dance performances, as well as for TV films and series, such as “The Ex List” (Channel 2, sold to NBC), “When Shall We Kiss” (Channel 10, sold to HBO Europe), “Custody” (Channel 2), “Deus” (The Children’s Channel) and more. His talents are also employed by the advertising industry in TV, cinema and radio commercials and jingles.

Scott Munson Composer SCOTT MUNSON’s music has been performed throughout the world in concert halls, TV and on radio. He composed numerous pieces for the musical saw, including the musical saw solo in the Fox Searchlight movie ‘Another Earth’.
In 2007 his work “The Undeterred” for piano, voice and musical saw, premiered at Carnegie recital hall and was later repeated at New York’s Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. His ballet “Stand Back” (with musical saw part) has been performed numerous times by members of the Eric Hawkins Dance Company. In 2009 the ballet company Eidolon performed choreography to two of his works for musical saw at the Joyce Theatre Soho. His two works for musical saw and string quartet were played at a concert in Israel in spring 2010.
Mr. Munson’s music has been heard on many TV stations including CBS, MTV, FOX,CNN, Bravo, A&E, The WE Channel, The History Channel as well as on radio stations such as XM Radio, WBAI, Radio Marabu (Germany), Radio Centraal (Belgium) and others. In 2006 an hour long radio program dedicated to the music of Mr. Munson along with an interview with the composer aired on Radio Kol Hamusika in Israel, the most prestigious classical radio station in that country.
He has won numerous awards, commissions and grants including first place in National Public Radio’s (NPR) “All Songs Considered” contest for his original arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and a “Meet The Composer” grant for his composition “Fantasy” for trumpet and vibraphone.

Daniel RadtkeDANIEL RADTKE (Conductor) has conducted a wide repertory from Medieval through Modern music with the Goliard Chorale and Chamber Orchestra, The Astoria Symphony, The Most Precious Blood Concert Choir and Orchestra, The Bronx Concert Singers, The Brooklyn Consort, The Canby Singers, The Saint Joseph?s Chorale and Orchestra. As a singer, he has performed as a member of The Greg Smith Singers, The Manhattan Chorale, The National Chorale, The Juilliard Choral Singers, The New York Choral Artists, The Temple Emmanuel Choir, Musica Sacra and Voices of Ascension. As a member of the Commission on Music for the Brooklyn/Queens Diocese, has performed as conductor, cantor and organist and has directed workshops in Song Leading and Conducting. He began his professional career in 1973 as a member of the U. S. O. performing for American troops in Europe. He is an honors graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Steven’s Point where he frequently performed leading roles in musical theater, opera and dance productions. He has been the Music Director at Most Precious Blood parish in Astoria for the past 23 years. Dan has been a long time advocate of the music of Scott Munson. He has commissioned and conducted premiers of many composers dating back to 1980.

Lawrence Zoernig LAWRENCE ZOERNIG (Cello) has been principal cellist of many New York symphony and chamber orchestras, including New York Chamber Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Bachanalia, Opera Manhattan and the New York Scandia Symphony.
He has appeared with well-known dance ensembles including the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the David Parsons Dance Company. He has appeared as soloist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center, Steinway Hall in New York and the Phillips Collection and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
His Scandia Quartet was invited to play for former US President
Jimmy Carter and his wife, Roslyn, at the Carter Center in Atlanta,
Georgia, and for the Prince and Princess of Denmark at the Hans Christian Anderson Centenniel Celebration.
As a concert artist on the international scene, Mr. Zoernig has
been presented at the Teatro Amazones in Manaus, Brazil and the World Expo in Seville, Spain and has also performed extensively on Cunard Line cruise ships throughout the world, as well as on the National Tour of the award winning hit Broadway show, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”.
Meet the Composer Foundation provided Mr. Zoernig with a
grant for his work as a composer of music for cello.
He received a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School.

Elaine Olschesky ELAINE OLSCHESKY (Flute) residing in Astoria, Queens, is active in many areas of the classical music business, holding positions as a performer, music instructor and arts administrator. She received her Master’s Degree in flute performance from New York University where she studied privately with world-renowned flutist, Keith Underwood, and new music/extended technique classes with Robert Dick. She earned her Bachelor of Music in performance from Ithaca College where she studied with Kelly Covert. Ms. Olschesky’s previous engagements include a solo concerto world premiere with the Astoria Symphony, two concerto soloist performances with Goliard Concerts, and principal flute/piccolo concerto soloist with the Queensborough Orchestra. She has also performed with the Light Opera of New York, the Julliard School, Ohio Light Opera, Vertical Player Repertory, Christ Church Festival Orchestra, and with the New Music and Dance Ensemble at NYU’s contemporary music festival in Genova, Italy. Ms. Olschesky was the conductor and chamber music coach for NYU’s Wednesday Night Orchestra, and she has held several arts administration positions as the Administrative Director of Goliard Concerts, Orchestra Manager for NYU’s Symphony Orchestra, and additional positions with MidAmerica Productions and Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Kathleen Ditmer KATHLEEN DITMER (French Horn) M.A., Western Illinois University; B.M., Hartt College of Music. Studied with Paul Ingraham, William Capps, James Jacobs. Former faculty member, pre-college divisions of Manhattan School of Music and Hartt College of Music. Currently teaches privately, at the Wharton School of Music, and at select summer band camps nationwide. Well-known French Hornist with a wide variety of solo, chamber music, orchestral, brass band and jazz band credits in New York and New Jersey as well as throughout the U.S. Extensive career includes performances with the Metropolitan Opera, American Ballet Theatre, Long Island Philharmonic, Queens Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, Nashville Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble. Broadway credits include Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Recordings with Odyssey, Audio Media, Sound Stage Productions, LSI Studios, Nashville Sound Studios, and Opryland USA Show Orchestra.

Alex Anisimov ALEXANDR ANISIMOV (Violin) was born in Russia in 1975 into a musical family, and started his musical studies at the age of six. He graduated from the Russian State Music Academy and also has got the postgraduate Diploma with Prof. Shisman.
Since 2000 he has regularly performed as a soloist and conductor with various orchestras in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan (Tatarstan), Ufa (Bashkortostan), Astana (Kazakhstan) and others. Since 2010 to 2012 Alexander has worked in the National Symphony Orchestra (Ufa, Bashkortostan, Russia) as a concertmaster, soloist and a second conductor.
Alexander was the first performer of works by contemporary composers and composes himself. In 2009 Alexander was admitted to the Association of Russian Composers. For his achievements in performing arts, he was awarded a grant from the Russian Musical Association, TV prize “Person of the Year”, and Orenburg Governor’s Prize.
He has also been the prize winner of the following International competitions: “Citta di Moncalieri” (1999, Italy); “Hopes, Talents, Masters” (2004, 2007, Bulgaria); “Valtidone Competition” (2005, Italy) and others. He was awarded prizes in various categories: “Solo performance (Violin)”, “Chamber Ensemble”, “Composition”.
In 2011 Alexander has received his PHD.

Bass player Mark Wade MARK WADE (Bass) A graduate of New York University, Bassist Mark Wade is an active freelance player. Credits include the Janecek Philharmonic, Orchestra of the SEM, The Antara Ensemble, Orchestra of the Bronx, DiCapo Opera, Key West Symphony, Light Opera of New York, and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He played on Broadway for “It A’int Nothin But The Blues”. Jazz credits include Jimmy Heath’s “Four Black Immortals” project, Stacy Kent, Bill Warfield, and The Natchez Music Festival. He is a founding member of the Queens Jazz OverGround.

jeff ellenberger JEFFREY ELLENBERGER (Viola) Violist/violist/mandolinist/conductor Jeffrey Ellenberger graduated from the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Erick Friedman. He will receive his masters degree in conducting from Rutgers University in Spring of 2014. He has performed as the concertmaster of the Bar Harbor Festival Orchestra, and played on Broadway with “Les Miserables”, and with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and New York City Opera. In the pop world, he has performed for Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Harry Connick Jr. This is his 8th season as conductor of the New York Mandolin Orchestra, which perhaps will soon feature a soloist performing on the saw!

JULIANNE KLOPOTIC violin JULIANNE KLOPOTIC (Violin) Founder of Light and Sound Concerts, a new music series residing in Brooklyn, NY. She received degrees with honors from the North Carolina School for the Arts, Peabody Conservatory of Music, Mannes College, with post graduate studies at Juilliard. Appearing as a performing artist in NYC and abroad, she is winner of the Artists International Solo Competition, grant recipient of the Mikhashoff Trust for New Music, NY Women Composers Society and has been nominated into both National and International Who’s Who of performers. In addition, to her classical performance is her innate ability to work with and record 20/21st century chamber music; including works of living composers and arranging for songwriters/bands. Recordings Ms Klopotic can be heard: A&M, Arista , American Federation of Microtonal Music, 4-Tay, Colombia, Durtro, Electra, Geffen , Equal Vision, Naxos, Pitch, Polygram, Restless, Socialist, Stockholm , Sony Classical, TTP, Touch and Go and Universal records.
Julianne has played with and arranged for strings and saw on the album ‘Dogs’ with Nina Nastaia. (track-Stormy Weather) You can learn more about Julianne by visiting her Light & Sound website at www.lightandsound-concerts.org

Carlos Baptiste - violin CARLOS BAPTISTE (Violin) was born in London England of Caribbean parentage. At the age of seven he began his Violin studies and continued them at the Yehudi Menuhin school and the Royal Academy of Music in London. During his studentship at the Academy, Mr Baptiste was the recipient of the Academy’s highest honors in Violin performance including the Concerto competition in which he performed the Concerto in D major by Tchaikovsky.
Mr Baptiste came to New York City to continue his studies at the Mannes College of Music as a scholarship recipient. Carlos Baptiste currently makes his home in New York City and he makes regular appearances as a soloist and chamber musician. He is also founder of the critically acclaimed African-American group “Diaspora Chamber Players.”

Nuno Antunes - clarinet NUNO ANTUNES (clarinet) was born in Lisbon, Portugal, and began his music studies at the C.N.R. of Leiria at age 11. Mr. Antunes continued his education at ANSO (Lisbon), and earned his MM at Manhattan School of Music.
Mr. Antunes’ appearance in competitions has resulted in several prizes, including the R.D.P. Young Musicians Prize and the Portuguese Young Clarinetist Competition. Having a recognized versatility in several different musical styles, Nuno Antunes has performed extensively as a recitalist, chamber musician and in various professional orchestras, both in the U.S., Mexico and Europe.
His love for chamber music led to the creation of The Gene Project, a unique combination of clarinet, bassoon and harp. He is also a member of Ensemble 54 clarinet quartet. Mr. Antunes had his NYC debut as a soloist in 2007 at Musica Bella Concert Series and he gave a recital at the XX International Clarinet Meeting (Lisbon, Portugal).
Mr. Antunes is the principal clarinetist of the Miami Symphony Orchestra and a member of IRIS orchestra.
Nuno Antunes teaches clarinet at the Horace Mann School and is on the faculty for Praxis Youth Leadership Orchestra and for New York Summer Music Festival

Francisco Salazar - violin FRANCISCO SALAZAR (Violin) Born in Caracas Venezuela, Francisco Salazar began his violin studies at age 6, and at age 8 made his debut as a soloist with orchestra. Since then he has performed extensively as a concert violinist, and has toured all over the world with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela which he joined at age 14. Having already established himself as one of the top performers in his native country, Francisco decided to come to the United States to attend The Juilliard School where he obtained his B.M and M.M degrees as a scholarship student of Margaret Pardee. Since coming to the States Francisco has continued the success that started early on in his native country, and has performed as a soloist and a chamber musician to rave reviews by music critics in prestigious venues such as Avery Fisher Hall, Carnegie’s Weill, Kimmel Center, and many others.
Currently Francisco resides in New York City, is a member of the Harrisburg Symphony, concertmaster of a variety of ensembles in NYC, and maintains a busy schedule as a soloist and chamber musician.

JUDY DIMINO (piano) is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, serving in the choir, the handbell choir, as an assisting minister, and as a substitute organist. Judy is a graduate of Queens College, now known as the Aaron Copland School of Music, with a B.A. in Music Education.
Judy was a pianist for the Committee Of Police Societies Chorus and Runner-Up in the International Piano Recording Competition 1982 She received the Presiding Bishop’s Certificate of Church Music from the Leadership Program for Musicians at The Mercer School of Theology in Garden City, Long Island in 2004. Judy has taught piano, guitar and accordion in various locations in the Queens area. Judy recently received a Certificate in Church Music from Westminster Conservatory, Princeton, New Jersey.

Romulo Benavides violin ROMULO BENAVIDES (Violin) studied with the late Emil Friedman in his native Venezuela and obtained his Bachelors degree from The Juilliard School. As Concertmaster of Arcos Juveniles de Caracas, he performed as soloist in the United States, Spain, Dominican Republic and throughout Venezuela, and in 1985, he won 1st Prize at the Juan Bautista Plaza Violin Competition in Caracas. He went on to perform as soloist with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, Carabobo Chamber Orchestra and the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra. In New York City he has performed with the Carpentier Quartet, Ensemble America, Frank Valiente Tango Quintet, and with Mauricio Najt and Alberto Quiroga. Benavides performs as the first violinist of the Dali Quartet and is Concertmaster and featured soloist of the Philadelphia Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. He has recorded for New World Records and performed in master classes for Itzhak Perlman at Brooklyn College and for Peter Winograd at The Aspen Music School.

Musical Saw Festival 2011 in the News


NY1 TV News

Reuters TV News

The Daily

Time Magazine





Assemblymember Aravella Simotas Presents Citation of Honor to NYC Musical Saw Festival
Queens Times

Assembly Member Aravella Simotas presented the Queens based NYC Musical Saw Festival with a citation of honor for “9 years of artistic excellence in Astoria ”.. In her speech at the festival, which took place on July 16th, Simotas said she has a love and appreciation of music since she used to play the clarinet, and she finds it so wonderful that the NYC Musical Saw Festival takes place at the Hellenic Cultural
Center in Astoria and she hopes it will continue to do so for many
years to come.
The festival presented 37 musical saw players who came from
as far away as India , Japan , Germany and Sweden , and as
nearby as Astoria and Sunnyside. Amongst the many performances
in this concert which lasted 4 hours was a world premier of a
composition commissioned by the festival from composer Eyal Bat.
The composition, titled ‘Courts of Heaven’, was written for four
musical saws and piano. This is a historical first for the art form
of playing music on a carpenter’s handsaw, since it is the first time
a composer set out to write for this particular instrumentation. The
piece resembled a fuge form and showcased both harmony passages
as well as individual solo lines. Pianist Judy Dimino provided gentle accompaniment to the otherworldly choir of saws.
Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz, founder and organizer of the annual festival, presented a few pieces from her new album ‘I Saw the Future’: ‘ Bend ’ and ‘Ars Longa Vita Brevis’ – two piece for string quartet and musical saw by Scott Munson as well as ‘Air on the G String’ by J.S. Bach. ‘I Saw the Future’ is available f rom www.cdbaby.com/Artist/NataliaParuz
The Trinity Handbell Choir, directed by Richard Walker, accompanied Paruz on two classical pieces – Gymnopedie/Satie and Pavane/Faure.
Poet Willa France recited two of her poems about the musical
saw and 12 visual artists presented their paintings inspired
by the musical saw. A little girl named Lillian Carver, daughter
of the “Singer & Saw” duo who presented a comical skit revolving around the musical saw, was so inspired by the art exhibit that
she asked for a piece of paper and during the concert she drew her
own impression from the concert, depicting the music as heavenly
through a visual of the ‘Saw Lady’ playing on a cloud.
Many musical saw solos and duos followed as well as the ‘Roe
Family Singers’ – a band featuring the musical saw. Music ranged
from Liszt & Beethoven to pop classics such as ‘Mona Lisa’ & ‘Bessame Mucho’, to religious tunes such as ‘How Great Thou Art’ to movie music such as ‘Pure Imagination’ from Willy Wonka.
The concert ended with the ‘Chorus of the Saws’ – all saw players playing ‘Over the Rainbow’ together. Eerily mesmerizing, 37 saws playing together is certainly an unearthly sound unlike any other.
After the concert saw players were treated to four workshops that
ranged in difficulty from beginner to advanced. To celebrate the success of the festival, ‘Opa’ Greek restaurant received an influx of
diners carrying musical instruments that evening. The festival,
which is made possible in part with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, administered by the Queens Council on the Arts, was also supported by local merchants such as Maria’s Hair Salon and Imagination Hairdesigners, who displayed the festival’s poster in their storefront windows.