Now in its third season, National Sawdust, the progressive Brooklyn, NY-based non-profit venue, announced a new partnership with the University of Michigan to bolster its industry-leading artistic development. The collaboration with the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) and its entrepreneurial EXCEL Lab will give showcase and residency opportunities to SMTD’s emerging young musicians, designers, and multidisciplinary artists.
As part of this partnership, the Grand Prize winner of its M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition will be presented at National Sawdust each year, beginning with 2017 winner Russian Renaissance, who will perform on Saturday, September 23 at 7 p.m. during National Sawdust’s Opening Weekend. Russian Renaissance, an ensemble from Moscow that performs “high calibre traditional folk music,” were the senior open category laureates in the 2017 M-Prize Competition in May, winning the $100,000 Grand Prize after competing against senior strings division winner the Argus Quartet, and senior winds division winner the Donald Sinta Quartet.
National Sawdust’s mission is to build new audiences for classical and new music by providing outstanding resources and programming support to both emerging and established artists and composers. National Sawdust’s programming is centered on discovery within music, introducing audiences to new artists and styles, and introducing artists to new audiences.
SMTD’s expansive EXCEL Lab, open to all U-M students and housed in SMTD’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Leadership, has emerged as a national leader in the delivery of performing arts career development training. EXCEL supports more than 1,000 performing arts students each year through career coaching, weekly workshops featuring internationally renowned arts leaders, a curriculum of courses that include an undergraduate minor and graduate certificate, and more than $120,000 in direct student funding for more than 80 student projects. As a result, more than 150 U-M students take part in dozens of new performances, residencies, performing arts festivals, installations, collaborations with professional companies, and multi-disciplinary initiatives each year throughout Michigan and beyond.
The M-Prize Chamber Arts Competition is a new initiative at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance that enters its third year in 2018. M-Prize’s commitment to highlighting the breadth of the chamber arts field is demonstrated through its two divisions (junior and senior) and three categories (Strings, Winds, and Open), with the senior winners of each category competing head-to-head to determine who will walk away with the competition’s top honor.