Press Room

National Sawdust Taps Jed Bernstein as Special Advisor

Now embarking on its second season, National Sawdust is pleased to announce the appointment of veteran arts leader, Jed Bernstein, as a special advisor. In this new role, Bernstein will focus on two areas: developing a strategic plan for fundraising and development and providing counsel to the Board and Senior Management, in areas of marketing and administration. Once implemented, the fundraising plan will significantly increase the venue’s commissioning budget, support its groundbreaking new online arts journal, and help to ensure that the artist-led, community-focused venue is able to keep most of its ticket prices below $30. As the former President and CEO of New York’s Lincoln Center and a Tony Award-winning producer, Bernstein’s experience in heading successful, large-scale campaigns will be invaluable as the non-profit institution works to fulfill its ambitious goals. His appointment underscores National Sawdust’s ability to attract top collaborators, as already evidenced by the first-rate roster of guest curators, variety of residencies, and advisory board of cultural luminaries that the organization has assembled since its opening last fall.

Jean-Pierre Chessé, President of the National Sawdust Board, commented:

“Jed has unique talents in fundraising, marketing and producing that have made him an invaluable executive in the arts community for over 20 years, and we are excited to have him as a Special Advisor at National Sawdust. In the coming years, we look forward to building on the success of our first season and cementing National Sawdust’s place as a crucial cultural institution in New York. Having Jed on board will help us reach those goals.”

Jed Bernstein says:

“I am honored to be collaborating with National Sawdust, which has become one of the most forward thinking and innovative arts organizations in New York, in only twelve months of operation. Its commitment to building new audiences for classical and new music is impressive, and I look forward to helping the Sawdust team achieve success.”

Matthew VanBesien, President of the New York Philharmonic, added:

“National Sawdust is a wonderful and dynamic addition to the NYC music and cultural scene. The experience, energy and creativity that Jed will bring to the National Sawdust team will be of great benefit as they continue to grow.”

National Sawdust is committed to three key initiatives:

  • First, as a mark of its deep-seated commitment to new composition and art, National Sawdust aims to increase its commissioning budget from $235,000 in its inaugural season to $500,000 for 2016-17. Representing direct investment in artistic development, this budget will comprise commissioning fees for new works, fees for curation and residencies, and additional support for recording, career planning, and educational projects.
  • Further financing is being sought to support National Sawdust’s newly launched publications division. Highlighted by a new online arts journal titled The Log, the division is headed by senior music journalist Steve Smith, formerly of the Boston Globe, New York Times, and Time Out New York, who joins the organization as Director of Publications.
  • National Sawdust seeks further support to reduce its dependence on ticket revenues in order to keep ticket prices below $30. This price point is designed to serve the venue’s younger and more socioeconomically diverse audiences.

About Jed Bernstein

For more than two decades, Jed Bernstein has been a leader in theatrical production, venue management, arts administration, and marketing and promotion. Most recently, he served as President and CEO of New York’s Lincoln Center, where he oversaw the launch and expansion of multiple initiatives, including new community outreach and engagement programs enhancing the growth of cross-campus collaboration. He also led Lincoln Center’s new digital strategies, presenting Lincoln Center Theater’s hit show The Nance with Nathan Lane in more than 300 movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada, and expanding the live streaming of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors and American Songbook series. He was instrumental in the renaming of David Geffen Hall and the subsequent launch of the $500M+ capital campaign to fund its renovation. Before joining Lincoln Center, Bernstein launched Above the Title Entertainment, the production company and marketing consultancy through which he became a Tony Award-winning independent Broadway producer.

About National Sawdust

Under the auspices of its Executive and Creative Director, composer Paola Prestini, National Sawdust offers comprehensive artistic support from commissioning to development, collaboration, performance, recording, and beyond. Since opening last fall, it has already established itself not only as a world-class performance and recording venue, but also as a premier destination for adventurous music lovers and performers of all genres. With programming “poised at the intersection of pop, jazz and classical, of America and the world” (New York Times), National Sawdust “already feels like an invaluable part of the New York music scene.” As the Village Voice put it: “Nothing quite like it exists in New York City, or anywhere else in the world. … Williamsburg’s bright new diamond National Sawdust will change the way modern music is made.”

To download high-resolution photos, click here.

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© 21C Media Group, September 2016

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