You’re invited to the 8th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival:
Flyer art by Zina Saunders
When: Saturday, August 7th, 2010, 2pm.
Where: Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent Street (corner of Newtown Avenue), Astoria, NY 11102-3142
The entrance to the festival is on Newtown Avenue.
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Public Transportation: N/W Train to 30th Ave (walk on 31st street towards Newtown Avenue. Make a left onto Newtown Avenue. Walk almost 4 blocks to the Hellenic Cultural Center).
*NATALIA ‘SAW LADY’ PARUZ, founder & organizer of the Musical Saw Festival, will present the musical saw as a band instrument in jazz/pop/world-music, with AmeriKlectic the band.
* AmeriKlectic – a 10 piece jazz band featuring the musical saw as the lead instrument. AmeriKlectic is an acoustic chamber music group featuring musical saw, vibraphone, strings, horns and rhythm section, performing original music with a disinct sound that seemlessly blends styles from classical and jazz, to pop, newage and ethnic musics.
* World premier of new compositions for the musical saw, commissioned for the Musical Saw Festival, including a piece for three musical saws and piano by Eyal Bat.
* A musical saw art exhibit
* Solos by saw players from around the world
* The ‘Chorus of the Saws’ (all participating musical saw players playing together)
* Musical saw workshop
NYC Musical Saw Festival souvenir T-shirts will be available for purchase – $20 each.
Non musical-saw musicians participating in the festival:
SCOTT MUNSON (composer, vibraphonist) graduated from Rutgers University where he studied composition with Pulitzer prize winning composer Charles Wuorinen, percussion with William Moersch, and jazz theory and jazz improvisation with the legendary jazz musicians Kenny Barron and Ted Dunbar. After graduation he became assistant to composer Charles Wuorinen, working closely with the composer, creating piano arrangements, full scores and performance parts of the composer’s works for performances with the NYC Ballet, the NY Philharmonic, The San Francisco Symphony and other major orchestras around the world.
In 2000 Mr. Munson was composer in residence with the Goliard Chamber Ensemble where he had an opportunity to tour the United States performing his works and giving lectures. Since then, the Goliard Chamber Ensemble has commissioned Mr. Munson numerous times, including a large scale work for string orchestra and voice that premiered in 2004 to an audience of over 600 to great acclaim.
In 2007 his work “The Undeterred” for the unusual combination of 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” 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 at the Joyce Theatre Soho. He wrote two works for musical saw and string quartet, which were performed on radio and at a concert in Israel in spring 2010.
His most recent commission, for Flute and Orchestra, was premiered December 2009 by the Astoria Symphony in Astoria Queens NY.
His newly formed 10 piece band ‘AmeriKlectic’ is premiering at the Musical Saw Festival.
Mr. Munson has worked as an arranger, orchestrator and music editor for Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr. and many others. 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.
ANDREW BEALS (saxophone/flute) joined legendary jazz organist, “Brother” Jack McDuff and the “Heatin’ System” in 1986. Beals became the latest in a long line of Jazz Saxophone greats, including Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Red Holloway, Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Harold Vick, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk to work with Jack McDuff’s band. It was marked by a busy performance schedule, which included lengthy tours of North America and Europe. Andrew Beals has appeared as a leader of his own band and as a featured soloist with Jack McDuff, and others, at many renowned Jazz clubs and festivals. Beals was a semifinalist at the 1993 Thelonious Monk Jazz Saxophone Competition; and in 1998 he was awarded the prestigious NYU Jazz Orchestra Scholarship for graduate studies in jazz performance and composition. Andrew is currently an adjunct professor of Jazz Saxophone and Jazz Improvisation at Western Connecticut State University(W.C.S.U) and a woodwind instructor at the Greenwich Music School. He received his Bachelor of Arts Music degree at Livingston College and Rutgers University, and has a Master of Arts Music Degree from New York University. His teachers were Paul Jeffery, John Stubbelfield, Frank Foster, George Garzone (saxophone), and Jim McNeely (composition).
BIM STRASBERG (bass) was born in La Jolla, California and has lived in New York since 1985. He received his B.A. from the University of California at San Diego where he studied with Bertram Turetzky. He later studied bass with John Neves, Todd Coolman, and Dave Holland as well as composition with Jim Whitsitt and Hal Crook.
He has performed with many notable artists including Charles McPherson, Eddie Harris, Terrel Stafford, Dr, Lonnie Smith, Mike Wofford, Johnny Coles, Jack Sheldon, “Papa” John Creach, Scott Hamilton, Mickey Roker, Cecil Payne, Eric Alexander, and Bill Mays. He is currently a member of the legendary Robert “Bootsie” Barnes’ Quintet which features trumpeter John Swana and can be heard on Weldon’s Midtown Blues (Amosaya) and Larry Gillespie’s Contour (Blue Line).
ROB SUSMAN (trombone) has appeared in music festivals in the North Sea, Pori, Vienne, Aruba, Bermuda, Gubbio (Italy), The Canary Islands, COTA (PA), Discover Jazz (VT), Red Bank, OSPAC, NJ Jazz Association (NJ), and What Is Jazz? (NYC).
He has toured the with Chico O’Farrill’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra and Salsa singer La India. He has performed with Branford Marsalis, Clark Terry, Tito Puente, Frankie Ruiz, Ismael Miranda, Liza Minelli, Jay and the Americans, Leslie Gore, Neil Sedaka, The Drifters, Ashford and Simpson and Neil Diamond.
He has been a guest musician on radio’s “Rambling with Gambling” , Television’s “The Vicki Lawrence Show”, and Joe Pesci’s MTV video “Yo Cousin Vinny”. He was a guest faculty soloist with the NYU Orchestra.
He can be heard playing on several nationally televised commercials. He has been a member of the Supper Club All Stars, The Rainbow Room Orchestra, Mike Longo’s NYSAE, Charli Persip’s Supersound and Broadway pit orchestras.
He can be heard on recordings by Swingadelic, Andrea Burns, Science For Girls, The Davenports, Blue Number Nine, The Electric Ladybugs, Peter Buchi, Hemingway, NoNoNonet, Stefanie Seskin, Repercussions, The Marshall Plan Kids, A Mass for Mass Trombones, Janet Speaks French, Fatback, Hagatha, Renar, and the Flipped Fedoras.
He has composed for PBS’s “Reading Rainbow”. His arrangements are performed by top ensembles, such as Boston Brass and brass ensembles under his own direction. His credits include: The Cairo Symphony Orchestra, The N.Y.U. Symphony Orchestra, Johnny Farina (of Santo and Johnny), and The Imani Winds. He arranged the popular swing version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” that appears on the Pottery Barn CD “Hip Holidays II”.
Rob is the Brass Studies instructor for the NYU Dept. of Music Education. He has given master classes at NYU, Brooklyn College, The Dalton School, and the Moses Brown School. He directs ensembles at The Village Community School, and The Rudolf Steiner School.
TIM MCLAFFERTY (drums) The son of a painter and sculptor, Tim grew up in a free thinking environment where he began playing drums at age four. He’s played drum-set and percussion in numerous Broadway shows, including Urinetown and Grey Gardens, Happiness at Lincoln Center, and the premier of the Philip Glass score for The Bacchae at Shakespeare in the Park.
Active in all genres of music, with a focus on jazz and improvisation, Tim has performed with Karl Berger, Mark Helias, David Liebman, Graham Haynes, Badal Roy, MIck Rossi, Eric Friedlander, Rona Figueroa, and also leads and records his own various groups. A very productive poet and visual artist, his poems have been set by composers Mick Rossi and Scott Munson.
AMY NELSON (trumpet) has performed solos in a variety of venues including the Grant Park Music Festival (Chicago), Great American Brass Band Festival (Kentucky), Grand Celebration of Brass Bands (Iowa), World Music Conference (Holland), Illinois Music Educator Association Conference and the International Women’s Brass Conference. She was awarded first place in both the slow melody and technical solo divisions of the North American Brass Band Association’s national solo competition four different years, placing in the top three nine times over nine years. She placed first in the International Women’s Brass Conference category three trumpet solo competition. Amy is a performing artist for Richard Smith Musical Instruments and plays a Smith Watkins soloist cornet.
Amy served as principal cornet and personnel manager of the Chicago Brass Band, winners of the 2004 NABBA Championship division and the NABBA representatives at the 2005 World Brass Band Competition in the Netherlands. Prior to joining the CBB she was a member of the Illinois Brass Band, six-time NABBA champions, where she served as cornet section leader and personnel manager and was a frequent soloist. She toured England with the IBB and toured America with the Regent Brass Band of London, England. These days Amy can be found in New Jersey performing with the Imperial, Princeton, and Atlantic Brass Bands. She is the principal cornet of the Athena Brass Band.
Amy is currently freelancing in the New York City/Tri-State area. She is a member of the Gramercy Brass Orchestra of New York. She has performed with such Broadway shows as Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the national tour of Evita. Orchestral performances have included work with the Queens Symphony, the American Symphony and the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra. She recently completed a recording project with composer Joseph Dymit of original trumpet works entitled Battlecry (www.piquedamemusic.com). She believes in the importance of music education and works with a program in Brooklyn which provides instrumental instruction for students without access to music in schools.
LAWRENCE ZOERNIG (cello), has been principal ‘cellist of many New York symphony and chamber orchestras, including New York Chamber Orchestra, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, Bachanalia and Opera Manhattan. Mr. Zoernig premièred Lars-Erik Larsson’s Concertino for ‘Cello and String Orchestra at Trinity Church with the New York Scandia Symphony, for which he is also principal ‘cellist. He has also recently performed the Cello Concerto by Johan Svendsen with the Scandia Symphony.
As a chamber musician, he performs frequently with the Goliard
Ensemble and Bachanalia. He has appeared with such noted artists as
violinists Nina Beilina, Sidney Harth and Mark Peskanov, clarinetist
Charles Neidich, guitarist David Starobin, and 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 New York
Public Library’s 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 Queen Elizabeth II, Caronia, Vistafjord, Sagafjord, and Royal Viking Sun throughout the world.
Lawrence Zoernig recently returned from the National Tour of the
award winning hit Broadway show, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”.
Meet the Composer Foundation recently provided Mr. Zoernig with a
grant for his work as a composer of music for cello. Additionally, he
maintains an active teaching schedule and is presently a faculty
member of the Sylvan Academy of Music in Closter, NJ.
Lawrence Zoernig was born in 1960 in Sioux City, Iowa. He began
studying ‘cello at age eight. He attended the National Academy of Arts in Champaign, Illinois, an arts-centered boarding school. He received a Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with Alan Harris, and a Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School where he studied with Harvey Shapiro. At Juilliard he also worked extensively with Felix Galimir, Joel Krosnick, John, Cage, Albert Fuller and Jaap Schröder.
He has also coached with members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, Budapest,
Tokyo, and Hungarian Quartets.
He plays a Stradivarious model ‘cello made by Tim Hulley of Ottawa,
Ontario, completed in 2004.
ZAKARIA ENIKEEV (viola), Zakaria Enikeev is the first-ever violist in South of Russia who won an International String Competition Award. In the age of sixteen he gave his first recital with the Rostov Symphony Orchestra conducted by A.S. Mileikovsky, the People’s Artist of Russia. Later on Zakaria often performed as the soloist with the orchestra, playing works of Hummel, Weber, and Bartok. Now Zakaria studies at the Juilliard School. As a soloist and as a chamber musician, Mr. Enikeev has been performing in the most prestigious concert halls of New York, including Alice Tully Hall, Paul Hall, Merkin Hall and Weill Recital Hall of Carnegie Hall. Zakaria Enikeev has served as principal violist of the Juilliard Orchestra on many occasions. Nina Beilina, an eminent Russian violinist, once said about Zakaria Enikeev: “Not only has the young musician a great technique and a command of various styles, he is truly in love with his instrument. You can feel the charm of a refined artistic individuality in his manner.” Awards, honorary titles: Second Prize of the Togliatti International String Competition (Russia, 2002) and the Governor’s Prize For Great Success in Arts and Culture. Finalist of the Stulberg International String Competition (USA, 2003); awarded the Russian Federation Governmental scholarship program For Outstanding Creative Abilities.
CYNTHIA MARCUS SMITH (violin) performs regularly throughout the tri state area. She is a violinist and Co-Founder in the Dynamic Motion Company. This ensemble pairs a small group of dancers with a string quartet in live performance. She plays in many New York based orchestras and regularly performs at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Cynthia also is the violinist in the chamber pop band, The Staves.
She has been lucky to perform around the world at the major concert houses of Italy, Austria, Singapore, Mexico, Washington DC, and New York. Cynthia is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory where she studied with Pamela Frank and Shirley Givens.
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.
More information about the 2010 NYC Musical Saw Festival will be added here soon.
Musical saw players wishing to participate:
If you would like to participate as a saw player 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.
Last year’s Musical Saw Festival:
The NYC Musical Saw Festival is made possible in part by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.
FOX5 TV News at 10 reported on the 7th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival:
The ensemble begins to play Ave Maria and work toward a Guinness World Record.
July 30, 2009
At least 350 people packed Trinity Lutheran Church in Long Island City, turning the festival into a standing-room-only event, with audience members resorting to sitting on the floor in front of the first pew. A battery of press personnel flashed cameras and took notes, while FOX5 TV featured the festival on their 10 o’clock news.
Though the festival was scheduled to start at 2 p.m., audience members started filling the church as early as 12:30 p.m., eager to secure themselves a good seat. While waiting for the concert to start, they were able to enjoy the art exhibit featuring paintings and collages by eight artists, all featuring the musical saw, of course. A curator from the Metropolitan Museum of Art perused the art exhibit with evident enthusiasm.
The public portion of the festival lasted four and a half hours, followed by a workshop with the saw players. The concert opened with a presentation of four world premieres commissioned by the festival. Composer Scott R. Munson presented “Quintet” for string quartet and musical saw, and “The World is Too Much With Us,” a setting of William Wordsworth’s poem featuring soprano singer Ilya Speranza with strings and musical saw.
Composer Eyal Bat presented “Canticle of Angels” for two musical saws and piano and “1905,” a piece inspired by an old house built in that year in Astoria. This piece featured the Trinity Handbell Choir, directed by Richard Walker. Playing the musical saw part in all the world premiers was the festival’s founder and director, Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz. To round up her set she also played the duet for cello and musical saw from the 1991 French movie “Delicatessen” with cellist Lawrence Zoernig.
A succession of solos by many, many musical saw players followed, some playing with live accompaniment by harp, piano, guitar, banjo or mandolin. While there were a few pianists who took turns accompanying the different saw-soloists, Heawon Kim, who is on the faculty of the C.W. Post/Long Island University, accompanied quite a few of them.
Four of the sawists attached all sorts of electronic gadgets to their saw, creating loops of sound and distortion causing the saw to sound like an electric guitar.
The youngest musical saw player was 15-year-old Peter Harrison, who came with his grandfather from North Carolina. They both share a passion for playing the musical saw. The oldest were two sawists, one from Pennsylvania, the other from Massachussets – both 83 years young. Musical saw players came from near and far to participate in the festival – two came all the way from Japan, three from Germany, four from Canada, one from Belgium, one from France and the rest from various states.
For the record performance, 53 saw players lined up to put their signature on a document for Guinness, witnessed by two witnesses and a notary public. All 53 of them then proceeded to play the Schubert “Ave Maria,” an eight-minute piece, accompanied by Judy Dimino on church organ and conducted by James Bassi. When they were done the audience roared with delight. The enthusiasm for the new world record was through the roof. At the end of the concert all the saw players played together again. This time it was “Over the Rainbow,” and the players surrounded the church, sitting in the isles all around the audience, creating a true surround-sound experience.
Paruz said that she will send all the evidence to Guinness in London by the end of this month. Once the evidence is received by Guinness, the group will notify her in four to six weeks about the acceptance of the new world record.
The festival, which was supported by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and NY State Council on the Arts, was a huge success. As people left the church some asked the Saw Lady if she gives saw-lessons.
The seventh annual NYC Musical Saw Festival in Astoria broke the world record for the most saw players gathered in one place. (photo by Michael O’Kane)
What is the sound of 53 saws being played at once? It’s more like the twang of a theremin or the glass-shattering octaves of a female soprano than the noise made from cutting wood.
At New York’s seventh annual Musical Saw Festival, saw enthusiasts from across the globe converged at Trinity Lutheran Church in Astoria to break the Guinness World Record for the most people playing the tool at one time, which was set last year in Poland, when 27 players got together.
“The sound was so incredible. It was a once-in-a-lifetime situation,” Natalia Paruz, the founder and director of the festival, said. “It was a combination of the sound and the visual and the vibration that made it so much fun and so amazing.”
The saw is played in an unusual manner, bent to a curve and held between the legs. Then a bow similar to that used by a violin player is drawn back and forth across the edge of the “instrument” to create different pitches.
Each participant at the festival had the opportunity to give a solo performance during which all genres of music — from classical to country and even pop — were played.
“It gives you a lot of freedom to express yourself musically in a way that a lot of other instruments don’t,” Bill Boyer, a Brooklynite who has been playing the saw for the last 11 years, said. “On the piano, the notes are separated from each other mechanically. On the musical saw, they are all connected. I like that about it.”
Max Butler of Texas has been playing the saw for 20 years. His instrument is a Stanley brand tool which he purchased at Wal Mart. Butler came to New York specifically for the festival because he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the stage with 52 other saw players. Back home he says people are intrigued by his hobby.
“First, they look around to see where that sound is coming from and then when they identify it, they come over and want to know all about it,” he said.
Alex Kim of New Jersey has played numerous musical instruments including the saxophone, trombone and flute, but he said nothing compares to the saw.
“It’s very special,” he said. “It is my favorite.”
In perhaps the most unusual rendition of Michael Jackson’s classic “Beat It” ever performed, Californian Cynthia Weyuker sang and played the saw to the accompaniment of an egg beater’s whirr and a flour sifter’s churn.
“There are so many fantastic, perfectly in tune, beautiful, technically awesome saw players out there, and they have been playing 20 years longer than me,” she said. “I’ll never catch up, so I’m just sort of making my own thing.”
Similarly, Ralph Stovesandt of Germany also altered his saw playing by running one cable from the instrument into a sound machine and another into a loop station, creating a kind of electric guitar effect.
“It was only an experiment,” he said. “I’m a guitar player. I play the blues guitar so I tried to put some pick-ups on the saw. I play the classical saw too.”
Arthur Doerksen of Canada, who rides a unicycle in addition to his musical endeavors, took up saw playing at the request of his wife.
“She told me that if I was going to marry her, I would have to pick up a musical instrument of some sort,” he explained. “I figured that besides a triangle or a harmonica, this was easiest I could go and the cheapest I could go.”
Thirty-five years later, he still feels like he made the right decision.
Although the saw festival lasted over four hours, the audience remained captivated throughout the event.
“It was wonderful,” Ellie Moss of Australia, said. “I really liked the classical pieces.”
“I found it mind bending,” Carl Barnett of Rego Park said. “It really ran the gamut. Some people didn’t need accompaniment and others sounded like a science fiction movie.”
Photographer: Pat Merino
They came, they sawed, they conquered!
Jul 29, 2009
The 7th annual NYC Musical Saw Festival attracted 55 musical saw players to Astoria on Saturday, July 18. Of those, 53 played together, attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Musical Saw Ensemble.
Over 350 people packed Trinity Lutheran Church LIC, turning the festival into a standing room-only event, with audience resorting to sitting on the floor in front of the first pew. Though the festival was scheduled to start at 2 p.m., audience members started filling the church as early as 12:30 p.m., eager to secure themselves a good seat.
The youngest musical saw player was 15-year-old Peter Harrison, who came with his grandfather from North Carolina. Musical saw players came from all over the country and globe to participate, including two from Japan, three from Germany, four from Canada, one from Belgium, and one from France.
Fifty-three saw players lined up to put their signature on a document for Guinness, and then proceeded to play “Ave Maria” ccompanied by Judy Dimino on church organ and conducted by James Bassi.
Natalia “Saw Lady” Paruz, the festival's founder and director, said she will send all the evidence to Guinness in London by the end of this month. Once the evidence is received by Guinness, they will notify her in four to six weeks about the acceptance of the new world record. The current record was set in Poland last year with 27 musical saw players, meaning the Astoria even is likely a new world record.
Videos from the festival can be viewed here.
Photographer: Harris Graber
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- Adamec: you have been a great inspiration, and so was the NYC saw fe...
- Bob: Dear Natalie, That is absolutely wonderful. Congratulations...
- Susan: Natalia Loved looking at the various videos from the festiv...
- Margrit: Congratilation to this fantastic success! It is very interes...
- Nicole: you have been a great inspiration, and so was the NYC saw fe...