Paola Prestini is a composer and director and co-founder of VisionIntoArt, an interdisciplinary collective that has created over 40 multimedia productions worldwide. The New York Times has called VisionIntoArt “always intriguing and frequently beguiling...” and has praised Prestini’s compositions as “radiant [and] emotionally evocative.” Prestini’s 2009 release Body Maps on Tzadik Records showcases some of new music’s greatest soloists and has been featured on WNYC. Her music has been performed by such ensembles as The New York City Opera, Ensemble ACJW, the Claremont Trio, and the Kronos Quartet in venues including Carnegie Hall, The Whitney Live, and Joe's Pub. She has received commissions from the Concert Artists Guild and Carnegie Hall, among other organizations.
Prestini’s music has also been featured at international festivals such as EtnaFest and Concerti Aperitivi in Italy and BEMUS in Serbia. Her co-production of 21c Liederabend was voted one of the top 10 classical concerts of the year in 2009 by Time Out New York. Ms. Prestini has written music and directed at such festivals as BAM's Planet XX festival and the Whitney Museum Resonant Spaces festival. She has been included in ASCAP’s Thru the Walls series at the Cutting Room and has been featured in composition residencies at Dickinson College with the Corigliano String Quartet, at the North Carolina School of the Arts, and at UCLA.
Prestini has written extensively for film and theater, and has been a film composer and conductor on CNN for the ASCAP film composers workshop. Her film collaborations have won first prize and made official selection at the Sundance Film Festival and the Austin Film Festival, and she recently scored the short film Without for the Kronos Quartet. She is currently a 2010 Sundance Fellow for documentary film scoring. Other activities include curating at the Stone (John Zorn’s avant-garde new music space in New York City) and the Galapagos Art Space in DUMBO, and she has written articles on collaboration for Arcana III: Musicians on Music and New Music Box, among other publications. Besides Tzadik Records, her music appears on the VisionIntoArt label.
Prestini has taught and created curricula for the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the New York City Opera, and the American Symphony Orchestra League, and she is an advocate for music education in schools. She directs a music initiative that provides instrumental lessons and training in music technology to inner-city high school students; the program, housed at Brandeis High School in Manhattan, is supported by VisionIntoArt in partnership with the American Composers Orchestra. She is also the associate director of the prestigious Making Score program of the New York Youth Symphony. Recent accolades include the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, an ASCAP Morton Gould prize, multiple American Music Center CAP grants, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space and MCAF award, two New York State Council on the Arts individual artist grants, and two Concert Artist Guild commissions. Prestini received her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees at the Juilliard School and has studied with Samuel Adler, Robert Beaser, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.