The Digital Composer Shattering Ceilings
Composer, activist, entrepreneur. Meaningful titles, all — yet even together, they don’t quite capture the totality of Paola Prestini’s musical gifts and wide-ranging vision. As a composer, she has joined forces with poets, conservationists, filmmakers, scientists, and more to create epic works that shatter barriers and defy easy description. She is also the co-founder of both National Sawdust, a Brooklyn-based music incubator and performance venue, and VisionIntoArt, an interdisciplinary arts production company. Through her own art and the organizations that she has helped to create, Paola is living out her version of a 21st century creator’s mandate: “nurturing a wide array of voices who are collectively reshaping the landscape,” and “empowering high-level artistry, regardless of genre, by multicultural artists who tell their stories through music.”
A reflection on finding communion during the pandemic (we all remember that feeling), Prestini’s Con Alma is an album and a groundbreaking digital experience created with singer-songwriter Magos Herrera and incorporating the recordings of more than 30 artists around the world. Years earlier, for The Hubble Cantata, the composer partnered with VR filmmaker Eliza McNitt to create the opera’s finale, transporting viewers to experience the birth and death of a star. And just this year, Prestini curated Archive of Desire, a multidisciplinary festival inspired by C.P. Cavafy and featuring performances, digital art presentations, poetry readings, and a visual rave.