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Following his acclaimed compositional release Aheym, Bryce Dessner released St. Carolyn by the Sea on March 4th. Released on Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music, St. Carolyn by the Sea features debut recordings of three of Dessner’s compositions – the title work, “Lachrimae” and “Raphael” – performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under conductor Andre de Ridder. The pieces draw from a number of different influences including Jack Kerouac’s novel Big Sur on the title piece, compositional work from renaissance composer John Dowland on “Lachrimae,” and experimentation with an old harmonium on “Raphael.” The recordings feature performances on guitar by Dessner and his twin brother, Aaron. St. Carolyn by the Sea presents Dessner’s works alongside a suite by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, one of Dessner’s peers as a rock guitarist and genre-bounding composer.

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NEWS


April 16, 2015

PBS NewsHour


I’m always thrilled to be a part of Big Ears Festival​ and this past year was no different. While I was in Knoxville I spoke with PBS NewsHour for a piece they were doing on the spirit of this unique festival. You can watch it here.

April 7, 2015

Music for Wood and Strings


I’m happy to announce that Music for Wood and Strings, played by So Percussion, will be released by Brassland on May 18 & 19. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and written for So Percussion, Music for Wood and Strings is performed on four amplified, dulcimer-like Chord Sticks. The Chord Sticks, which were built by my talented friend Aron Sanchez (of Buke and Gase), each have eight double-course strings and are tuned to a pair of chords, and were designed specifically for this piece of music.

You can pre-order Music for Wood and Strings here.

If you are in London on May 9 & 10, I hope to see you at Barbican for Mountains and Waves, a marathon weekend of performances featuring some of my favorite musicians. The program includes the world premiere of Wave Movements, a new orchestral work that I wrote with Richard Reed Parry that features a video installation by photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto. In addition you can see performances of Sufjan Steven’s Round-Up; the European premiere of Black Mountain Songs and performances by eighth blackbird, So Percussion, Tim Hecker and many more. You can see the full program and purchase tickets here.

Also on the horizon is the premiere of my orchestral piece Quilting, performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel. The piece will be premiered on May 28 and 30 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Tickets are available here.

February 12, 2015

Mountains and Waves at the Barbican


I curated a marathon weekend of music at the Barbican in London May 9-10, featuring some of my favorite music and musicians. The weekend will have a focus on the emerging American arts scene, featuring new music and multi-arts performances inspired by the landscape of the US. The weekend will include the world premiere of Wave Movements, a new orchestral work composed by myself and Richard Reed Parry, performed by Britten Sinfonia and featuring visuals by the amazing photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto; the European premiere of Sufjan Steven’s Round-Up ; the European premiere of Black Mountain Songs; performances by eighth blackbird, So Percussion, Tim Hecker, and much more.

Tickets are now on sale for members. Public on-sale begins Friday at 10am. You can read more about the program and purchase tickets here.

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PERFORMANCES


April 26, 2015Aheym and Little Blue Something

Theater at Bismarckplatz, Regensburg, Germany
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg with dance choreographed by Stephen Thoss

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April 30-May 2, 2015Frame of Mind

Canberra Theatre Centre, Canberra, Australia
Compositions by Dessner will be the soundtrack to a dance piece choreographed by Sydney Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela

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May 6-16, 2015Frame of Mind

Southbank Theatre, Melbourne , Australia
Compositions by Dessner will be the soundtrack to a dance piece choreographed by Sydney Dance Company’s Artistic Director, Rafael Bonachela

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May 9, 2015Mountains and Waves: Bryce Dessner and New American Music

Barbican Centre, London, UK
Curated by Dessner, the marathon weekend will include performances spread across the Barbican Hall. Highlights to include: world premiere of Wave Movements; the European premiere of Sufjan Steven’s Round-Up; the European premiere of Black Mountain Songs; performances by eighth blackbird, So Percussion, Tim Hecker, and much more.

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May 10, 2015Mountains and Waves: Bryce Dessner and New American Music

Barbican Centre, London, UK
Curated by Dessner, the marathon weekend will include performances spread across the Barbican Hall. Highlights to include: world premiere of Wave Movements; the European premiere of Sufjan Steven’s Round-Up; the European premiere of Black Mountain Songs; performances by eighth blackbird, So Percussion, Tim Hecker, and much more.

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May 12, 2015Aheym and Little Blue Something

Theater at Bismarckplatz, Regensburg, Germany
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg with dance choreographed by Stephen Thoss

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May 15, 2015Aheym and Little Blue Something

Theater at Bismarckplatz, Regensburg, Germany
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg with dance choreographed by Stephen Thoss

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May 17, 2015 St. Carolyn by the Sea

Symphony Center, Orchestra Hall, Chicago, IL, USA
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra performs work by Bryce Dessner, accompanied by Bryce and Gyan Riley on guitar

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May 21, 2015Festival Metis

Auditorium CRR93, Aubervilliers, France
Performance by Bryce Dessner and So Percussion

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May 22, 2015Music For Wood and Strings

Mona Bismarck Center, Paris, France
Performance by Bryce Dessner and So Percussion

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May 25, 2015Aheym and Little Blue Something

Theater at Bismarckplatz, Regensburg, Germany
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg with dance choreographed by Stephen Thoss

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May 28, 2015Quilting

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, USA
World premiere of a new work commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

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May 30, 2015Quilting

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA, USA
World premiere of a new work commissioned and performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

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June 5, 2015Music for Wood and Strings

Harry and Mildred Remis Auditorium, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA
Performed by Sō Percussion

More Info

June 10, 2015Lachrimae

Saint Denis Festival, Saint-Denis, France
Performed by Orchestre National d’Ile-de-France as part of “American Stories” program at Saint Denis Festival

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June 24-28, 2015Twenty Eight Thousand Waves

Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, MA, USA
Performance by the Ballet BC set to Aheym

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June 30, 2015Aheym and Little Blue Something

Theater at Bismarckplatz, Regensburg, Germany
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg with dance choreographed by Stephen Thoss

Buy Tickets

July 14, 2015Aheym and Little Blue Something

Theater at Bismarckplatz, Regensburg, Germany
Performed by The Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg with dance choreographed by Stephen Thoss

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August 19-22, 2015MURDER BALLADES

Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, MA, USA
Performed by the L.A. Dance Project

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August 28, 2015Wave Movements

The Hub, Edinburgh, Scotland
Performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to a film made by the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto

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September 25, 2015Quilting

Muziegebouw, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Performance by Philharmonie Zuidnederland

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April 26, 2016Quilting

Barbican Centre, London, England
Performance by BBC Symphony Orchestra

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aheym-logo

Bryce Dessner, guitarist from The National and Clogs who has also collaborated with Steve Reich, Philip Glass, David Lang, Sufjan Stevens and many others, released Aheym, an album of quartets, on November 5th on Anti- Records. The album finds Dessner collaborating with Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary season. Aheym features four original compositions by Dessner performed by Kronos Quartet as well as an appearance by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Dessner and the quartet first crossed paths when Kronos founder David Harrington approached Dessner about writing a piece for the quartet’s performance at the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park in 2009. The ensuing piece, “Aheym” (meaning “homeward” in Yiddish), was informed by the stories of Dessner’s Jewish immigrant grandparents who settled near the park and, as the pair’s collaboration grew, became the album’s title track.

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COMPOSITIONS


Quilting2014

Orchestra

Commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, to be premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Walt Disney Performance Hall on May 28, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA, USA

40 Canons2014

String Quartet and Guitar. 25 min.

Commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, to be premiered by Kronos and Bryce Dessner at the Barbican Concert Hall in London, England on May 14, 2014.

Reponse Lutoslawski2013

String Orchestra. 20 min.

Co-commissioned by the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland and the Mexico National Orchestra, premiered by the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra at Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera in Warsaw, Poland on November 29, 2014.

Music For Wood And Strings2013

Percussion Quartet. 40 min.

Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, premiered by So Percussion at Carnegie Hall on November 23, 2013.

Listen on WQXR.org

Black Mountain Song2013

Chorus a capella / Chorus plus 1 instrument. 4 min.

Commissioned by The Brooklyn Youth Chorus and Brooklyn Academy of Music, premiered April 13, 2013 at the MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Murder Ballades2013

Flute, Clarinet, Percussion, Piano, Violin, Cello. 16 min.

Commissioned by eighth blackbird and Lunapark and funded by The Doelen Concert Hall Rotterdam, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ Amsterdam, and Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven, with the financial support of The Van Beinum Foundation, premiered April 5, 2013 at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Little Blue Something2012

String Quartet. 7 min.

Written for Kronos Quartet, premiered May 31, 2012 at Ensems Festival in Valencia, Spain.

Lachrimae2012

String orchestra. 15 min.

Commissioned by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Scottish Ensemble, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, premiered June 16, 2012 at the Holland Festival. Performed by Amsterdam Sinfonietta, conducted by Andre de Ridder.

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St. Carolyn by the Sea2011

Electric Guitars and Orchestra. 15 min.

Commissioned by American Composers Orchestra and Muziekcentrum Eindhoven.

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To The Sea 2011

Vocal. Variable Duration.

Premiered November 2, 2011 during the “Monstrance” installation collaboration with Matthew Ritchie at L&M Arts Los Angeles.

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The Long Winter2010

Solo Cello. 7 min.

Commissioned by Naive Records (FR) for cellist Zachary Miskin.

Tenebre2010

String Quartet and Pre-Recorded Track. 15 min.

Commissioned by Kronos Quartet and the Barbican (London).

Tour Eiffel2010

Chorus and Mixed Chamber Ensemble. 15 min.

Co-commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with St. Ann’s Warehouse, Kaufman Center, Manhattan New Music Project and the Ectstatic Music Festival for performances at St. Ann’s on February 10-12, 2011 and at Merkin Concert Hall on March 12, 2011.

O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind2010

Piano, Percussion, Electric Guitar, Cello, Double Bass and Clarinet. 15 min.

Commissioned by the People’s Commissioning Fund and Bang on a Can for the Ecstatic Music Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, NYC on February 10, 2011.

The Long Count2009

Orchestra and 4 singers. 70 min.

Co-composed with Aaron Dessner. Commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, premiered October 28-31, 2009.

Aheym2009

String Quartet. 12 min.

Commissioned by Kronos Quartet for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Soft Premiere March 12, 2009 at the Music Now Festival. NY premiere July 18, 2009 in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

The Lincoln Shuffle2009

Brass Ensemble and Electric Guitars. 30 min.

Series of short pieces commissioned by the Rosenbach Library for Abraham Lincoln’s Bi-Centennial, premiered April 2, 2009 at the Rosenbach Library.

Propolis 2008

Bass Clarinet and Electronics. 40 min.

Co-composed with David Sheppard and Evan Ziporyn. Commissioned by Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) for the Morning Line, a large outdoor sound pavilion by Matthew Ritchie, premiered in October 2008 at the 3rd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville.

Raphael2007

Mixed Large Ensemble. 22 min.

Commissioned by the Kitchen and American Composers Forum, premiered March 13-14, 2007 at the Kitchen (NYC).

Quintets2007

Electric Guitar and String Quartet. 20 min.

Commissioned by the Kitchen and American Composers Forum, premiered March 13-14, 2007 at the Kitchen (NYC).

Turn the River 2007

Score for feature independent film Turn the River. Co-composed with Padma Newsome. Commissioned by Mr. Nice Film Productions.

Memorial 2006

Classical Guitar, Viola, Percussion. 8 min.

Commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival and 92nd Street Y, premiered December 1, 2006 at NY Guitar Festival at the 92nd Street Y.

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BRYCE DESSNER

Bryce Dessner is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. Known to many as a guitarist with The National, he is also active as a curator – a vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music.

His orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Center, Edinburgh Festival, Sydney Opera House, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, New York City Ballet, and many others. He has created theatrical works in collaboration with choreographers Benjamin Millepied and Justin Peck, visual artist Matthew Ritchie, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and composers Sufjan Stevens and Nico Muhly.

Dessner’s music – called “gorgeous, full-hearted” by NPR and “vibrant” by The New York Times – is marked by a keen sensitivity to instrumental color and texture. Propulsive rhythms often alternate with passages in which time is deftly suspended. His harmonies are expressive and flexible, ranging from the dense block chords of Aheym to the spacious modality of Music for Wood and Strings.

Bridging musical languages and communities comes naturally to Dessner, born 1976 in Cincinnati, Ohio. After early training on the flute, he switched to classical guitar in his teens. While in high school he started a band with his twin brother Aaron, also a guitarist. “I was playing classical guitar recitals, and people said, ‘You know, you can’t really do both things,’” recalled Dessner in Salon. “My intuition told me they were wrong… Someday that diversity of experience would be more enriching or rewarding than just going down one path.”

He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University where his teachers included Martin Bresnick and Evan Ziporyn. While at Yale in the late 90′s, Dessner met the other members of the quartet that became Clogs, weaving compositions out of improvisations on classical instruments. Clogs has toured widely, releasing five albums since 2001. That same year saw the founding of the critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated indie rock band The National, anchored by the Dessner brothers.

Aheym, commissioned in 2009 by Kronos Quartet, was a breakthrough score. It made its debut before an audience of thousands in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, not far from Dessner’s home. Since then, the ensemble has played the intense, anguished piece hundreds of times; it served as the centerpiece of a 2013 Kronos disc devoted to Dessner’s music on the Anti- label. St. Carolyn by the Sea followed in 2014 on Deutsche Grammophon, featuring the lyrical title work and two other Dessner compositions performed by the Copenhagen Philharmonic under Andre de Ridder. May 2015 marks the release on Brassland of Music for Wood and Strings, an album-length work performed by Sō Percussion on custom-built “Chord Sticks” that lend a shimmering, hammer dulcimer-like quality.

As a performer and producer, Dessner has collaborated with a wide variety of musicians, among them Steve Reich, Philip Glass, David Lang, Bon Iver, Antony and the Johnsons, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, composer/guitarist Jonny Greenwood, singer Shara Worden, and multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry.

His activities as a curator have grown as his career has expanded, allowing him to bring diverse artists and communities together in an organic way. Most recently, he has been tapped to curate ‘Mountains and Waves,’ a weekend celebration of his music at the Barbican in London, May 2015, with guests including Steve Reich, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, Caroline Shaw, and the Britten Sinfonia. In September of 2015, Bryce will also curate a weekend of performances at the Cork Opera House, Ireland.

MusicNOW, the Cincinnati-based contemporary music festival he founded in 2006, has featured Tinariwen, Justin Vernon, Joanna Newsom, David Lang, Grizzly Bear, Perfume Genius, and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, among many others. In 2015, MusicNOW celebrated its 10 year anniversary. To mark the occasion, an album titled MusicNOW: 10 Years, comprised of the festival’s best live performances, was released.

This May, Gustavo Dudamel will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the premiere of Quilting, a 17-minute score commissioned by the orchestra. Upcoming projects include a score for the New York City Ballet, choreographed by Justin Peck, and a new work for the New York Philharmonic, both premiering in the 2015-16 season.

Bryce Dessner’s music is published by Chester Music Ltd. For information about obtaining performance materials please contact Meg Monteith or visit Music Sales Classical.


Photo by Anne Mie Dreves

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Shervin Lainez

Photo by Charlotte de Mezamat
CONTACT

Manager: Dawn Barger, Post Hoc Management
dawn@posthocmanagement.com
+1 (718) 369-4544


Publisher: Meg Monteith, Music Sales
Meg.Monteith@musicsales.co.uk
+44 (0)20 7612 7467
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