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Music for Wood and Strings by Bryce Dessner and So Percussion

This shimmering 36-minute piece is performed by So Percussion on amplified, dulcimer-like “Chord Sticks” created by instrument builder Aron Sanchez of Buke and Gase. The sound is kaleidoscopic. Using sticks or violin bows, the players can sound either of two harmonies, or play individual strings, melodies, and drone tremolos. Music for Wood and Strings was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and premiered by So Percussion at Zankel Hall in 2013. The album will be issued as a CD and download on May 19 on the Brassland label (May 18 in the UK).

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Music for Wood and Strings Album Cover

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NEWS


May 19, 2015

Music for Wood and Strings Out Today


Dear friends,

Music for Wood and Strings, played by So Percussion, is out today on Brassland. The 36-minute piece is played on amplified, dulcimer-like “Chordsticks,” that I designed and built with Aron Sanchez of Buke and Gase. To see what the instruments look like and to hear excerpts from the piece head here. You can purchase Music for Wood and Strings on CD or vinyl here, at your local record store, or give it a listen on Spotify here.

Hope you enjoy!

May 7, 2015

Sounds from a Safe Harbour


I’m excited to announce that I am curating a brand new festival of music and art taking place September 17-20 in Cork, called Sounds from a Safe Harbour. The festival will feature new commissions, collaborations and performances by some of my favorite artists and will take place in venues throughout the city. There will be performances by Shara Worden’s My Brightest Diamond, celebrated English organist James McVinnie, So Percussion, Nadia Sirota and Mina Tindle, just to name a few. I am also thrilled to shared that the RTE National Symphony Orchestra will perform ‘Wave Movements’, a new composition by me and Richard Reed Parry, at the Cork Opera House. Read about the performers and find more information here.

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.

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PERFORMANCES


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, 2015Edinburgh Festival

The Hub, Edinburgh, Scotland
Wave Movements, Murder Ballades and Heart & Interruptions performed by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to a film made by the photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto

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September 12, 2015The Lismore Suite

Lismore Castle, Cork, Ireland
Part of Sounds from a Safe Harbour, a new festival of music, art and conversation, curated by Bryce, featuring new commissions and collaborations and performances in a range of Cork’s artistic spaces

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September 17 – 20, 2015Sounds from a Safe Harbour

Cork, Ireland
Brand new festival of music, art and conversation, curated by Bryce, featuring new commissions and collaborations and performances in a range of Cork’s artistic spaces

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September 25, 2015Quilting

Muziegebouw, Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Performance by Philharmonie Zuidnederland

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November 6, 2015Wave Movements

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
U.S. premiere of Wave Movements performed by The New York Philharmonic, conducted by André de Ridder

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November 7, 2015Wave Movements

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, USA
U.S. premiere of Wave Movements performed by The New York Philharmonic, conducted by André de Ridder

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November 13, 2015Murder Ballades

McCullough Theater, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX USA
Performed by eighth blackbird and commissioned by Texas Performing Arts

Tickets

February 2, 2016New Work (Title TBA)

David H. Koch Theatre, New York, New York, USA
New composition for the New York City Ballet with dance choreographed by Justin Peck

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February 9, 2016New Work (Title TBA)

David H. Koch Theatre, New York, New York, USA
New composition for the New York City Ballet with dance choreographed by Justin Peck

More Info

February 10, 2016New Work (Title TBA)

David H. Koch Theatre, New York, New York, USA
New composition for the New York City Ballet with dance choreographed by Justin Peck

More Info

March 25, 2016Murder Ballades

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, USA
Performed by Artist in Residence eighth blackbird

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March 26, 2016Murder Ballades

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, USA
Performed by Artist in Residence eighth blackbird

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April 21, 2016New Work (Title TBA)

David H. Koch Theatre, New York, New York, USA
New composition for the New York City Ballet with dance choreographed by Justin Peck

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April 26, 2016Quilting

Barbican Centre, London, England
Performance by BBC Symphony Orchestra

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April 30, 2016New Work (Title TBA)

David H. Koch Theatre, New York, New York, USA
New composition for the New York City Ballet with dance choreographed by Justin Peck

More Info

May 7, 2016New Work (Title TBA)

David H. Koch Theatre, New York, New York, USA
New composition for the New York City Ballet with dance choreographed by Justin Peck

More Info

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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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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


Garcia Counterpoint2015

Solo Electric Guitar And Tape. 8 min.

Commissioned by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam for Cross-Linx 2015. Supported by the AMMODO Foundation. Inspired by Steve Reich and Jerry Garcia.

Delphica2015

Solo Viola. 15 min.

Commissioned by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam for Cross-Linx 2015. Supported by the AMMODO Foundation. Written for Pekka Kuusisto.

Ornament and Crime2015

Solo Violin. 15 min.

Commissioned by Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam for Cross-Linx 2015. Supported by the AMMODO Foundation. Written for Pekka Kuusisto.

Wave Movements2015

Strings, Timp, Percussion and solo voice, performed live to a film by Hiroshi Sugimoto. c. 60 min.

Co-composed with Richard Reed Parry. Commissioned by Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Cork Opera House, Sydney Festival and St. Denis Festival in collaboration with MET Museum Presents for the NY Philharmonic Contact Ensemble.

Quilting2014

Orchestra. 17 min.

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

Reponse Lutoslawski2014

String Orchestra. 23 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 Songs2013

Chorus A Capella / Chorus Plus Instruments. 70 min.

Co-curated with Richard Reed Parry. Music by Jherek Bischoff, Bryce Dessner, Tim Hecker, John King, Nico Muhly, Richard Reed Parry, Caroline Shaw, and Aleksandra Vrebalov. 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, Metropolitan Museum of Art (for the New York Philharmonic), Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, 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. 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 marked 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 was 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, Dessner 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 conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the premiere of Quilting, a 17-minute score co-commissioned with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming projects include a score for the New York City Ballet, choreographed by Justin Peck, and a new work commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to be performed by the New York Philharmonic. Both scores will premiere in the 2015-16 season.

Bryce Dessner’s music is published by Chester Music Ltd..


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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