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
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


* 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

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 2010 in the News

The 2010 Musical Saw Festival was reported on in the ‘Astoria Times’ newspaper, with photo on the FRONT PAGE:

Musical saw festival in Astoria Times

Making music with a saw and violin bow may sound like a niche interest, but the NYC Musical Saw Festival at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria Saturday proved it is one with an international appeal that only seems to be growing.
Festival organizer Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz, a 17-year saw player who lives in Astoria, said the event began with four musical saw players and now, eight years later, has grown to 30, with players coming from as close by as New York City to as far away as Japan.
This year also featured the debut of both a new song composed specifically for the musical saw, “Seen and Unseen” by Eyal Bat, and the debut of Paruz’s new band, Ameriklectic, which played compositions in which the musical saw is the featured instrument. Paruz said she is already planning to record with her new band and to hold next year’s festival at a larger venue.
“Astoria has sort of become a pilgrimage place for musical saw players,” Paruz said.
Paruz’s passion for the instrument, which has led her to multiple concert and media appearances from a solo in Carneige Hall to an appearance on MTV’s “Andy Milonakis Show” to NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion,” has made her a lightning rod for other fans of the instrument.
Before she became a musician, Paruz was a dancer but was hit by a car while walking on the street.
“That put an end to my dance career,” Paruz said, “and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.”
When she took a trip to Europe with her parents a short time after being hit, she saw a man playing a saw, which she said was the first time she had felt excited about something since the accident. When she started playing, it began as a hobby, but her neighbors heard her playing and asked her to play for a charity function.
Word of mouth spread, first to other venues that wanted Paruz to play for them, which led to Paruz playing the musical saw and other musical instruments such as handbells professionally, then to other musical saw players. Eight years ago, a musical saw player from California contacted Paruz and wanted to come to New York to meet Paruz. She said yes, but only if the other, local musical saw players Paruz knew could meet the Californian as well.
This was the birth of the first musical saw festival. In subsequent years, more and more musical saw players wanted to meet with Paruz, and what began as meet-ups turned into an annual event that now takes all year to plan. The small theater was packed at the Hellenic center at 27-09 Crescent St.
“They just unanimously decided I should be the one to put on the festival,” she said.
Paruz said the musical saw is played by placing the handle between the legs for stability, then using the left hand to bend the blade from the tip as the right hand runs a violin bow along the non-serrated edge. The more the saw is bent, the higher the notes. Any saw can be played this way, although most saws made for music have no teeth or have teeth that are decorative and not sharpened.
“I’ve been playing for 17 years and I’ve never hurt myself,” Paruz said.
Lisa Mayer, a former Hillcrest resident who played at the festival with her husband and Kew Gardens native Sruli Dresdner, said the saw’s use as a carpenter tool and a musical instrument is one of its appeals.
“It’s utilitarian and artistic,” she said.
WooYoung Park, who came from Osaka, Japan, to play at the festival, said the sound of the musical saw is also a prime appeal.
“The sound is beautiful and unique,” she said. “It’s a free sound.”
Paruz said that for her the music has become a way for her to meet people of all ages, religions and backgrounds, in addition to sounding beautiful.
“It’s angelic and otherworldly and spiritual,” Paruz said. “It has a magic to it.”

musical saw festival in Queens Gazette

Musical Saw Festival Opens With Mayoral Proclamation

All participating 26 musical saw players playing together. Photo Harris Graber
All participating 26 musical saw players playing together.
Photo Harris Graber

The eighth annual New York City Musical Saw Festival welcomed 26 musical saw players from around the globe to the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria on August 7. A proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg was read to open the event.

Ameriklectic, a local 10-piece band, featured the musical saw (played by festival founder Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz) as the lead instrument in jazz compositions by Scott Munson. Two musical saw trios were presented at the festival, “Moscow Nights”, played by three musical saw players from Osaka, Japan. A ragtime piece by composer Eyal Bat, commissioned by the festival, with musical saw players Chelsea Winter, Sharif Vakili and Paruz, with piano accompaniment by Judy Dimino, had its world premier.

Musical saw player Paul Gherson parodied the lyrics to George Gershwin’s “Summertime”.

“Summer time, and the living is easy,

Bows are swinging, and vibrations are high…

Oh, but sawyers are few, and Natalia’s still looking,

The Carpenter’s Union she invited to try!”

Hip Hop poet Mason Granger presented a poem about the musical saw and musical saw player Doc George Hiller played his amplified musical saw attached to guitar pedals that alter the sound in various ways, making it sound like a Jimmy Hendrix guitar. A workshop where advanced musical saw players dispensed information to beginners followed the concert. At the workshop, two aspiring musical saw players drew their very first note from a saw.

Mark Grant, who has composed for the musical saw, said: “As a composer I learned a little more about the musical saw just by listening at the festival, especially to the [Eyal Bat] trio at the beginning of the program but also to other parts of the program. I was also pleased to get acquainted with Scott Munson’s work as a composer and arranger–his stuff is first class all the way, a ‘good listen’ and very well put together for the band, including the musical saw as a lead.”

“I’ve been wanting to go to the festival for five years, since I started playing the musical saw, and this is the first time I was able to be in New York City for the summer,” said one of the musical saw players.

“I liked meeting like-minded musicians from across the world and the U.S., and I learned a lot from the workshop, where we could talk freely about problems with our own playing, saws, bows, etc.,” said another. Heidi Younger, one of the painters exhibiting works at the festival, said, “I loved the festival! It was a very happy event. I am sorry I haven’t attended in previous years.”

Jeffrey Dayton, an audience member from Long Island, said, “To finally get to see what I have only read about is an experience I will never forget. I will cherish the memory for a lifetime. Every one of the performers was made to feel like they were the star of the show. No talent was too small.”

“Kudos to Queens Council on the Arts for support of the 8th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival: SawLady + gang is amazing,” Clyde Fitch, who lives near the Hellenic Cultural Center, twittered after the festival.

Three people residing in the vicinity of the Hellenic Cultural Center, where the festival took place, said they were inspired to dig into their toolboxes and try to fiddle with a saw when they returned home from the festival.

Audience members are invited to leave comments about the festival at

For more information about the annual New York City Musical Saw Festival, held in Astoria every summer, and to see videos from the event, visit

musical saw festival article

NYC Musical Saw Festival
8th Annual Musical Saw Festival Held At The Hellenic Cultural Center In Astoria

Musical saw trio
Musical saw trio. Photographer: Pat Merino

The 8th annual Musical Saw Festival was held at the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria. This fine art dates back to 17th century when woodcutting musicians around the world simultaneously began developing the saw as a musical instrument. In time a number of companies started manufacturing saws to cater to this part of the market.
The art form emerged in places as far away as Sweden, France and Japan; but we understand that America has emerged as the center of the art form. The Musical Saw Festival held in Astoria is the world’s largest and the following report captures some of its flavor.

Twenty-six musical saw players graced the stage of the Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria, home to NYC’s 8th Annual Musical Saw Festival. Some played solo acapellas, while others were accompanied by piano, guitar, vocals and even by a four-string washbasin. ‘Amerikletic’ is a local ten piece band which includes the festival’s founder, Natalia ‘Saw Lady’ Paruz. ‘Ameriklectic’ played a few Scott Munson jazz compositions which were a huge hit.
Three musical saw players traveled from Osaka, Japan to participate in the festival. Another group, including saw players Chelsea Winter, Sharif Vikili and Natalia Paruz played a ragtime jazz piece composed by Eyal Bat which was commissioned by the festival. Judy Dimino accompanied them on the piano.

Musical saw players
All participating musical saw players. Photographer: Pat Merino

Saw musicians are not without a sense of humor. Paul Gherson provided alternative lyrics to Gershwin’s Summertime which brought chuckles from the audience. Hip Hop poet Mason Granger recited a poem he’d written about the musical saw. And Doc George Hiller played Jimmy Hendrix style tunes on his amplified saw which he has creatively attached to guitar pedals to create new sounds.

One member of the audience, Jeffrey Dayton of Long Island, remarked, “To finally see what I have only read about is an experience I will never forget. I will cherish this memory for a lifetime”. Segments from the program were broadcast by CBS and Reuters. The program received some funding from the Queens Council Of The Arts.

Reactions to the 2010 Musical Saw Festival

Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of NYC, honored the Musical Saw Festival with the following (click on image to enlarge):

Mayor Bloomberg's proclamation

What musical saw players said about the 8th annual Musical Saw Festival:

Natalia, I had a GREAT time today!Thank you for doing this- I WILL be back next year (and I’d love to perform). I had such a blast at this year’s Musical Saw Festival!! I’ve been practicing the saw every day since the Fest!
Take care, Werner (MD)

Had a blast. Hope to return someday.
All the best,
Henry (CO)

All participating musical saw players
26 musical saw players participated at the 8th NYC Musical saw Festival. Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia,
just wanted to say, congratulations! I know it took so much to put the festival together, and I think it was a wonderful success. The workshop also was amazing. Thank you for all your work, and I hope you get a break now!
All best,
Tine (NY)

Hey Natalia
I wanted to thank you for organizing such a wonderful festival, we had a great time. I especially like the Ameriklectics, what wonderful compositions and arrangements!
I’m sorry that I couldn’t stay for the workshops, I’m sure there was lots of great knowledge being passed along.
I hope the festival was a success for you as well.
All the best, I’ll see you next year if not before!
Jeff (NY)

Chorus of the Saws
Musical saw players performing in the ‘Chorus of the Saws’. Photographer: Pat Merino

I had a wonderful time at the festival…I’ve been wanting to go for 5 years since I started playing and this is the first time I was able to be in NYC for the summer. You did an amazing job of putting everything together and sharing your beautiful sawing.
Caroline (NY)

The 8th annual saw festival was, as others, a most enjoyable day. I saw it as a day of opportunity in which we had the chance to play or to listen to others play with their diverse styles. I liked meeting like-minded musicians from across the world and the US, and I learned a lot from the workshop where we could talk freely about problems with our own playing, saws, bows, etc. Also, it was enjoyable to walk to a local restaurant there and dine with you, your husband and our saw playing friends. It was a great day! Thank you and your helpers for the efforts you put into arranging a wonderful experience. I look forward to next year’s event.
Best regards,
Stew (PA)

Thank you so much for the opportunity to get to play at the saw yesterday, and thank you for the kind compliments!
Nicole (NY)

All musical saw players playing together
‘Chorus of the Saws’ – all musical saw players playing together. Photographer: Harris Graber

Hi Natalia:
You really did an AWSOME JOB in putting everything together. I enjoyed myself immensly & Stew couldn’t get done thanking me for driving & staying for the workshop & for Dinner.
Steve (PA)

Hi Natalia,
Thanks for sending me all the information re: the Saw Festival and also inviting me to attend. I also want to thank you for the specific directions you gave. I was able to ride on the train, get out and walk directly to the venue without any problems. That was terrific. It was such a great experience to be there. I had the opportunity to meet you and other Saw players. The workshop was very meaningful and helpful to me. I am sure you recognized how excited I was when I struck my first note. I will be practicing daily so that I can improve my skills on the Saw. So you can expect a few emails from me when I have questions. It was also nice meeting your husband, say hello to him.
Thanks again. Have a great day!
Floyd (WA)

I thought that the Sawfest was terriffic.
Doc George (NY)

Hi Natalia
We really enjoyed this festival and trip.
We are so happy to join you.
We met many wonderful saw players.
Your band was so cool!
That was very exciting.
Hopefully,we wanna join your festival every year.
If next year’s date has been set,please tell me.
The sooner we can get cheaper flight.
Take care,
WooYoung (Japan)

Natalia, what an honor and a joy to have been a part of the saw festival today and to have finally met you and experienced your talent in person. You are an extraordinary person, full of life, love and enthusiasm!
Thank you for creating this event. Thank you for the workshop and the chance to get some great coaching. And thank you for posing for a picture with me!
I am already looking forward to next year’s festival and any other events that may be going on in between now and then. Enjoy the rest of your summer and I look forward to the next time I see you.
Jeff (PA)

I had the best time 2day & can’t wait 4 next year where I will play a solo!
Jenn (NY)

It was such a wonderful experience, thank you for inviting us!
the Venn Diagrams (NY)

Hi, Natalia. I hope you remember me from the festival and the workshop. I asked you to pose for a photo with me downstairs at the end of the workshop and of course you did!
I have only being playing since March 9, 2010 and was too shy and not confident enough to do a solo in August. Since the festival and the workshop, I have been playing my heart out amost every day. I have improved so dramatically that I cannot wait to register for a solo next summer. I really have YOU to thank for my inspiration… thank you!!!!!!!!!!!
Jeff B. (PA)

Musical saw trio
Musical saw trio. Photographer: Pat Merino

Audience reactions:

I loved it Natalia! Your festival was a very happy event. I am sorry I haven’t went sooner.
Heidi Y.

Hey Natalia! Enjoyed the festival. Had a great time yesterday. To finally get to see what I have only read about is an experience I will never forget. Living out here on the island doesn’t give me many chances to see you as much as I would like to which makes each time very special and that I will cherish it for a lifetime. You are a catalyst to a brighter future for N.Y.C. Thank you for everything.
My friend that played the saw with her father’s saw is already planning for the next saw festival. Bravo!!
Bravo Natalia!! You have performed above and beyond all expectations making everyone feel like they were the star of the show. No talent was too small. Again congratulations.
Jeffrey D.

Great Festival !! Enjoyed it very much
Pat M.

Ameriklectic – 10 piece band featuring the musical saw. Photographer: Pat Merino

Kudos to Queens Council on the Arts for support of 8th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival: SawLady + gang is amazing
Clyde F.

Hi –
I went to the Saw Festival last weekend and was really inspired to learn to play the saw. Do you have any suggestions on how to get started? The festival was awesome. I’ve seen you play a number of times in the subway and have been very moved each time. It was a great surprise to see that the Festival was taking place and just a couple of blocks from my apartment as well! Thanks for putting it on!

Musical saw players playing together
26 musical saw players performing together. Photographer: Harris Graber

Dear Natalia,
Just a word to say that I very much enjoyed the Saw Festival yesterday in Astoria. As a composer I learned a little more about the saw just by listening, especially to the trio at the beginning of the program but also to other parts of the program. I was also pleased to get acquainted with Scott’s work as a composer and arranger– his stuff is first class all the way, a “good listen” and very well put together for the band, including the saw as a lead. Bravo to both of you! (and what hard work to put the whole program on….)
Again, great fun yesterday, and nice to see you and Scott,
Mark G.

Hi Natalia!
just wanted to tell you how much I really appreciated the 2010 Musical Saw Festival. Thanks so much for bringing everyone together. What a wonderful day of such great SAWING!
– Matt

Ameriklectic – band with musical saw as the lead instrument. Photographer: Pat Merino

Reactions of musicians who participated in the Musical Saw Festival, who are not musical saw players:

Natalia and Scott,
Thank you for inviting me to participate in the wonderful concert yesterday. I’m very impressed with the high quality of music, and I am one of many who now see the musical saw as a more serious instrument. I’m looking forward to the recording and future projects with AmeriKlectic.
Rob S.

Hi, Natalia:
It was very nice to be part of this festival this year!
Amazing to see so many Saw Players at the same time.
Great for you to have all this media coverage. It’s great motivation and exposure for the Saw Festival.
Congratulations for this successful 8th Annual Saw Festival.

Thank you for asking me to play!! I had a GREAT time! Congratulations

Ameriklectic band featuring the musical saw. Photographer: Pat Merino

The Musical Saw Festival was so fun today! Scott Munson’s new group Ameriklectic was amazing!
There were some really good players this year too. Very impressed with the ladies from Japan! I don’t think I ever heard Scott play before. Man his group was good!

Hey Natalia,
I had a great time at the festival Saturday, and many thanks to you for letting me do my thing on stage. If there’s an audience anywhere on Earth that poem was meant for, it was right there.
Mason G.

Hi Natalia,
I really had a great time playing at the festival.

Chorus of the Saws
The sound of multiple singing saws. Photographer: Pat Merino

Reactions of people who saw the Musical Saw Festival on TV:

Hey, Natalia!
I’m already gathering money so I can go and join you next year!
I saw a report in portuguese television about this year’s festival… I see it all went well! Congratulations once again!
Yours truly