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P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Paola Prestini, 1999

Executive Director and Creative Director, National Sawdust

Paola Prestini is an immigrant from Italy

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MM in Composition at The Juilliard School

Paola Prestini is the executive and creative director at National Sawdust. She is the cofounder, and the executive and artistic director at VisionIntoArt (VIA). 

Paola was born in Trento, Italy, and moved to the Nogales, Arizona in 1978. At the Juilliard School, Paola received a BM and a MM, under the tutalage of Robert Beaser, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and Samuel Adler.

VIA is a multi-media arts group in New York City. VIA strives to fuse cultural voices across borders, bestow civic responsibility on its makers, address issues of globalization, and incorporate genres of art that are not traditionally performed. VIA performs regularly at the The Clark Studio Theater at the Lincoln Center Institute, Chelsea Art Museum, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City, and has toured to North Carolina and Dallas.

Paola received the 2003 Woman's Commissioning Project from the Monumental Brass Quintet, an award at the Whitaker Competition & Immigrant Voices Series, and a 2002 ASCAP Morton Gould Composers Award. Her most recent film was presented in Neo Noir, on CNN Worldbeat and on It won best short film at the 2002 Austin Film Festival. Paola was featured in a composition residency at Dickinson College, followed by a residency at Presbyterian College in South Carolina. Paola's 2010/2011 season includes a premiere with the New York City Opera on the VOX series and a new commission that will open the Wilson Theater at Juilliard School. She curated the FERUS festival at Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn. At present, Paola is at work on an article for the New York Times and finishing her opera.

Paola and her partner Jeffrey live in New York and they have a son.

  • MM Composition | The Juilliard School 2000
  • BA Composition | The Juilliard School 1998
Work History
  • National Sawdust, Executive Director and Creative Director
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