Williamsburg to get new music venue
by Lisa A. Fraser
May 01, 2012 | 376 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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A century-old former sawdust factory will soon be converted into yet another music space for Williamsburg.

Located at North Sixth Street and Wythe Avenue, the proposed facility will be built for performance, rehearsal and recording, and will “provide unprecedented resources for emerging and established musicians.”

The idea is that of Kevin Dolan’s, the founder and chairman of Original Music Workshop (OMW), a non-profit organization whose aim is to help musicians.

In late 2013, the non-profit arts organization will inaugurate its $15.6 million, 13,000-square-foot facility and launch its full-spectrum program in classical, jazz, contemporary and experimental music and sound.

Dolan, a musician and former senior vice president and tax attorney at Merrill Lynch, has also appointed acclaimed composer and arts producer Paola Prestini as creative director of OMW.

Prestini will be responsible for curating the organization’s programs, establishing artistic collaborations, developing initiatives to nurture young talent, and filling the OMW facility with new composers, performers, and audiences.

“As a composer, producer, educator and institutional leader, Paola is at the forefront of the generation of musicians that OMW is especially meant to serve,” Dolan said. “With this appointment, we are already realizing the exciting promise of OMW to create a home for the community and the culture of new music.”

According to a press release, OMW will host performances, including classical, jazz, contemporary and experimental music events, which will be organized by OMW and an international group of guest curators.

OMW also has plans to partner with like-minded organizations including Creative Capital, Beth Morrison Projects, Found Sound Nation, International Contemporary Ensemble, and the Harare International Festival in Zimbabwe.

OMW says it will “provide New York a virtually round-the-clock venue with superb acoustics and state-of-the-art facilities” for creating, rehearsing, performing, recording and broadcasting music in a wide range of genres.

“For 21st century artists, OMW will help bring together disparate voices across a vast interdisciplinary community, so they can create and present new works, develop their careers, explore unexpected synergies and collaborate with us in defining this space,” said Prestini. “For the 21st century audience, OMW will be at the forefront of offering new ways to experience music, both in our performance hall and off-site through our technological capabilities.”

The space, envisioned as having, “both the informality of a club and the acoustical refinement of a concert hall,” will accommodate up to 350 patrons for performances and will be suited for a range of uses, from a recording session for a 70-piece orchestra to a solo vocal recital to a multi-media event by a new media ensemble.

Engaging young musicians internationally will be a priority for OMW, reads the press release. In the 2012-13 season, OMW will collaborate with Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute to develop a project on Carnegie Hall's Musical Exchange, a global online community for young musicians.

OMW also plans to have residences for artists and bands, something it says will play an “important role” in the life of the venue.

And the nonprofit also plans to launch a program entitled Next Steps, which will provide live and virtual guides to artists creating a career, focusing on the emerging artist. The program will provide select resident composers with the opportunities to shadow, receive mentorship, and collaborate with the groups in residence.

The OMW building will be designed by the Brooklyn-based design firm Bureau V with architect-of-record Slab Architecture. The façade will remain mostly the same while the interior will boast a simple, yet futuristic look.

Outside the performance space, there will be a double-height lobby with a bar, separated from the concert hall by a massive vertically sliding acoustic door. The venue will also house an independently operated two story, 74-seat restaurant.

The venue is expected to open in late 2013.

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