Digital Discovery Festival

A Festival to bring National Sawdust artists and audiences together, and to fight the vulnerability performing artists are feeling during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Many in our communities are finding it difficult to navigate the new normal we find ourselves in.  This pressing need for connection and creativity is why National Sawdust has developed the Digital Discovery Festival. The Festival is a weekly program of live performances, interviews, and artist development designed to bring audiences together with artists, continue artist development during quarantine, and compensate artists in the hope that we can help each other build community while physically distancing.

National Sawdust is deeply grateful to the Alphadyne Foundation for making the Digital Discovery Festival possible. Alphadyne has fully underwritten the Festival which has allowed us  to support artists directly with financial and technical resources at this very challenging time, while also helping National Sawdust develop its overall digital stage capacity and skills.  Reinvention and reimagination in the arts is needed now more than ever, and we are deeply appreciative for Alphadyne’s support which allows us to amplify our mission based work of music discovery and artistic collaboration -- to entertain us, educate us and inspire us.

We would be grateful for your support of National Sawdust and our artistic community— please consider a donation by clicking the button below.

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Recent Performances

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Performances are free, but we would love to keep in touch. We will provide artist lineups, updates on scheduling, and resources to accompany the performances. We will NOT share your information with anyone else.

The Digital Discovery Festival Program

The Digital Discovery Festival will bring together three elements - Masterclasses, Discoveries, and Compositions. These will be added to our Live@ digital stage programming, which presents National Sawdust archival material according to weekly themes connected to the music and musicians stories. Live performances will be streamed on the digital stage, hosted here at as well as via Facebook Live.

Meet Our Hosts

Paola Prestini

Paola Prestini is a Composer, and the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of National Sawdust. She co-hosts the Friday Masterclass series.

Helga Davis

Helga Davis is a Vocalist & Performance Artist, and NYPR Host of HELGA podcast. She hosts our weekly Discovery series and co-hosts the Friday Masterclasses.


Every Friday at 1PM Eastern

Masterclasses are live performances that present established artists performing and discussing their experience during this difficult period and a vision for what might lie ahead. Paola Prestini and Helga Davis will moderate these weekly shows, to be livestreamed on the Live@ website and via Facebook Live.


Every Tuesday and Thursday at 6PM Eastern

Discoveries are 30-minute live performances that will showcase emerging artists in performance and in conversation with vocalist and host Helga Davis. These shows will be livestreamed on the Live@ website and via Facebook Live.

New Works Commission

National Sawdust has launched an open call competition to include 20 commissions by emerging composers. The closing date for applications is June 30th, 2020. A panel of composers will help select the artists, who will compose for members of the NS Ensemble and JACK Quartet and will receive mentorship from the renowned musicians. Their works will be premiered in the Fall and Spring. Click here for more details.

Copyright 2020 National Sawdust