GUEST POST: OMW – A space without parallel

Euan Murdoch recently returned from travelling Around the World in 60 Days having met some inspiring people along the way. While in New York he caught up with ex-Kronos cellist Jeff Zeigler who is taking on some exciting new projects including the new Original Music Workshop…

It is nothing new to observe that droves of people are focusing their attention away from Manhattan and venturing across the East River to discover the charms of Brooklyn. But there is something new to say about something uniquely interesting that is occurring tucked away in a corner of Williamsburg. A state of the art new music venue is being built.

OMW (Original Music Workshop) will be a space without parallel. It will be a place for young artists to hone their craft, present their work and make recordings. It will be both cutting edge and experimental. It will be 24/7.

Original Music Workshop building located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on the corner of Wythe Ave and North 6th Street.

Original Music Workshop building located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on the corner of Wythe Ave and North 6th Street.

Kevin Dolan is the man who had the vision to create this playground for artists. He felt that there was a lack of places for young musicians to experiment and to find their voice. So he decided to use his resources to create positive change for the arts.

He then assembled a team of some of the most visionary minds to help him to complete his dream. He hired the acoustic and theatrical consultants Arup Acoustics and the architecture firm Bureau V to design the space. He brought in the multi-Grammy winning producer Adam Abeshouse and the sound designer Sascha von Oertzen to address the sound and recording potential of the space. He then brought in Ed Greer, from City Winery to work as the Project Consultant. The woman driving the artistic vision of the space is the composer and Creative Director, Paola Prestini,

Although the space will not open for another year, it has already made a tremendous splash in the New York musical landscape. Paola Prestini has curated OMW’s “Virtual Season” which is essentially a concert series despite the fact that OMW is not yet an actual venue. It has featured artists from Laurie Anderson to Brooklyn Rider and Magos Herrera to Alessio Bax.

They have also created a series of films entitled, “In Situ”, featuring musicians performing in the raw space itself. In addition to capturing some truly inspired creativity, it also documents the progress of the actual construction (on several of the films, you can actually see people working in the construction site!). Featured artists include the vocalists Theo Bleckmann and Helga Davis, poet Roger Bonair-Agard, the composer/steel pan innovator Andy Akiho, and the band Netsayi and Black Pressure from Zimbabwe.

This summer OMW will present “Ex Situ” in connection with the River to River Festival. OMW will present artists from Chicago Symphony Composer in Residence, Anna Clyne, to the innovative German pianist Hauschka to the experimental Norwegian composer Maja S.K. Ratkje.

Jeff Zeigler in Ex-Situ

Jeff Zeigler in Ex-Situ

I believe that this space will make an unmatchable impact on how music is created and presented in New York. Paola Prestini has an inspired vision for the OMW and artists from all over the world are already licking their chops hoping to be involved.

There is still so much that needs to happen in order for the space to be completed. But no matter what lies ahead, OMW has forever changed the world’s most dynamic new music landscape.

– Jeff, 03.07.2013


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