Event, Music
Aug 03, 2010

8th Annual NYC Musical Saw Festival

One of the most unusual and interesting festivals in NYC is the musical saw festival, which has been going on in Astoria for 8 years now. In fact, Astoria has (…)

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One of the most unusual and interesting festivals in NYC is the musical saw festival, which has been going on in Astoria for 8 years now. In fact, Astoria has become the site of a sort of pilgrimage for musical saw players throughout the world, thanks to this festival.

What is a musical saw?  Well it’s basically a hand saw, the blade of which is bent into an S-curve, and a bow is drawn across its sweet spot – the flat center of the S-curve.  It sounds very ethereal, kind of like a theremin, or a pure woman’s voice.  And it’s been around for 300 years.

Now what can you expect to see and hear?  Here’s a sampling of what’s in store:

  • This year’s festival will feature more than 30 saw players, including three coming all the way from Japan to Queens just in order to attend the festival.
  • A historic world premier is scheduled – the first piece for 3 musical saws, ever.
  • A rapper will recite his poem about the musical saw.
  • There will be an art exhibit focused on the musical saw.
  • A 10 piece jazz band will feature the musical saw as the lead instrument, in all songs.

The festival is made possible by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and the NY State Council on the Arts.

Last year the festival got into the Guinness Book of Records for the ‘Largest Musical saw Ensemble’ with 53 saw players playing together, beating the previous record from Poland (28 saw players)!

Here are the details for the event. We hope you will consider attending!

8th Annual NYC Musical Saw Festival
When: Saturday, August 7th, 2010, 2pm
Where: Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09 Crescent Street (corner of Newtown Avenue), Astoria.
Admission: $10

Photo credit: (cc) Curtis Palmer on Flickr via a Creative Commons license.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

3 Comments

PatMinNYC

Astoria is not just the hot new place to live it is also the Musical Saw Capital of the world thanks to our own Natalia Paruz the Saw Lady who many of us know from the underground music scene. Once again she outdid herself and provided our community with a very entertaining and talented assortment of saw players, a fantastic poet and 4 standout pieces of original music from Scott Munson performed by The Ameriklectic Band. A pleasant surprise were The Venn Diagrams and their interpretation of Dream a Little Dream of Me.

Still images of the festival can be viewed here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/madhatter.pop/2010SawFestival?feat=directlink

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