April 23, 1976 |
|Associated acts||Clogs, The National|
Bryce Dessner (born April 23, 1976) is a Brooklyn based composer, guitarist, and curator primarily known as a member of The National. In addition to his work with The National, he is the co-founder of Brassland Records, a founding member of Clogs, and the founder of the MusicNOW Festival. Bryce has a master's degree in music from Yale University, and is currently a composer-in-residence at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven.
- 1 Background
- 2 Composer
- 3 Brassland
- 4 Collaborations
- 5 Producer
- 6 Clogs
- 7 Curator
- 8 Works
- 9 Discography
- 10 Further information
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Dessner grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with his twin brother, Aaron Dessner. He graduated from Cincinnati Country Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1994. Dessner earned his Master of Music from Yale University in 1999.
Each commission by Dessner is usually linked to a larger story or inspiration (see Works section below). For the "Lincoln Shuffle" Dessner visited the Rosenbach Museum & Library and used historical material to inspire the set of pieces, "Long Summer", "Rose of Lincoln", "Lincoln's Dixie", "Uncle Bob Ledbetter", "Uncle Bob's Union Guitars", and "Lincoln's Triumph (A Funeral March)." In January 2012, Bryce signed to Chester Novello Publishing for his concert music.
Bryce and his twin brother, Aaron Dessner are both members of The National and have worked together musically throughout their lives. The two Dessners have written, produced, and performed contemporary music internationally in collaboration with many artists. In August 2005, Aaron and Bryce performed a collaborative concert with David Cossin, and Luca Tarantino as a part of Soundres, an international residency program for contemporary music and art in Salento, Italy and at the Guitare Au Palais Festival in Perpignan France. They also performed at Matthew Ritchie's Ghost Operator opening at the White Cube Gallery in London.
The Long Count
The Long Count was a large commission for the BAM Next Wave Festival created by Bryce, Aaron Dessner and visual artist Matthew Ritchie. Together they created a work loosely based on the Mayan creation story ‘Popol Vuh’ that includes a 12 piece orchestra and four guest singers: Kim Deal, Kelley Deal, Matt Berninger, and Shara Worden. The work had its world premiere on September 11, 2009 at The Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, as part of the Ellnora Festival, and its New York premiere in October 2009 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It has since been performed at the Holland Festival and the Barbican. Tunde Adebimpe, a member of the band TV on the Radio joined Dessner, Aaron, and Ritchie for the Barbican Centre performance.
In November 2013, the Antirecords record label released the album Aheym featuring the first recordings of Bryce’s compositions, performed by the internationally renowned, Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet. The album includes his compositions “Tenebre,” “Little Blue Something,” Tour Eiffel,” and “Aheym.”
Bryce first crossed paths with Kronos Quartet in 2009 when the ensemble’s founder David Harrington approached him about composing a piece for their performance at the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The piece that Bryce wrote, “Aheym,” (meaning “homeward” in Yiddish), was inspired by the stories of his Jewish immigrant grandparents who settled near the park when they arrived in Brooklyn. In 2011, Bryce was commissioned by Kronos Quartet to compose a piece for the Barbican Centre's “Reverberations: The Influence of Steve Reich” festival in London. That piece, “Tenebre”, is based on the traditional Holy Week service in which 15 candles are gradually extinguished. Bryce, in his own words, “inverts the service” drawing the listener from darkness into light. “Tenebre” premiered May 7, 2011 at LSO St. Luke’s and featured the pre-recorded vocals of Sufjan Stevens. Bryce continues to work with Kronos, recently writing and dedicating "Little Blue Something" (2013) to them. The piece was inspired by the music of Irena and Vojtech Havel, who blend early music with Czech folk music. It was premiered by Kronos on May 31, 2012 at the Ensems Festival in Valencia, Spain.
Planetarium is a song cycle celebrating the solar system created by Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Sufjan Stevens. The piece was co-commissioned by Muziekegebouw Eindhoven, the Barbican Centre and the Sydney Opera House and had its first run of European shows in March 2012. Planetarium has been performed at the Barbican Centre in London, Muziektheater in Amsterdam and the Sydney Opera House in Australia. It was performed in Paris at Salle Pleyel in July 2012 and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in April 2013.
Other Collaborations and Commissions
Bryce is also a frequent collaborator with artists including Philip Glass, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and Glenn Kotche. Dessner served as the musical director for Matthew Ritchie's 'The Morning Line' installation, collaborating with Ritchie and a number of contemporary composers, including Lee Ranaldo and Evan Ziporyn. In 2011, Bryce collaborated with Ritchie again, composing a song entitled "To The Sea," which was used for Matthew Ritchie's performance art piece 'Monstrance.' ‘Monstrance’ was performed in November 2011 on Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California. The performance was accompanied by a multi-media exhibition at L&M Arts, LA.
On July 2, 2009, Bryce performed Steve Reich's "2x5" premiere alongside Reich at the Manchester International Festival. On Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at Stanford University and Friday, January 27, 2012 at Carnegie Hall, Bryce performed the world premiere of David Lang's new composition "Death Speaks" with Nico Muhly, Shara Worden, and Owen Pallett.
Bryce and Jonny Greenwood performed "The Music Of Jonny Greenwood And Bryce Dessner" as part of the 2012 Holland Festival. For the performance, Bryce composed a piece entitled "Lachrimae" as well as performed two other pieces with his brother Aaron Dessner and the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. The program was performed at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam and the Muziekgebouw Frits Philips in Eindhoven.
Recent commissions include “Murder Ballades” for eighth blackbird, a new work for So Percussion that will premiere at Carnegie Hall in November 2013, and a collaboration with Brooklyn Youth Chorus celebrating the artistic endeavors of the Black Mountain College. Also on the horizon is a collaboration with LA Dance Project, a new ballet company founded by Benjamin Millepied. For the piece, Justin Peck will choreograph a dance to Bryce's composition "Murder Ballades."
Bryce has produced and orchestrated tracks on The National's two most recent albums, High Violet (2010) and Trouble Will Find Me (2013). Outside of his work with The National, Bryce produced Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang's album Death Speaks (2013), and Pedro Soler and Gaspar Claus' album Barlande (2011). Additionally, Bryce orchestrated tracks on Local Natives' Hummingbird (2013) and Sharon van Etten's Tramp (2012), both of which were produced by his brother Aaron Dessner.
Dark Was the Night
In 2009, Bryce and Aaron produced an extensive AIDS charity compilation, Dark Was the Night, for the Red Hot Organization. The record features exclusive recordings and collaborations from a long list of artists including David Byrne, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Feist, Sharon Jones, Cat Power, Grizzly Bear, Antony Hegarty, My Morning Jacket, and Spoon. Dark Was the Night has raised over 1.6 million dollars for AIDS charities as of May 2012.
On May 3, 2009 4AD and Red Hot produced Dark Was the Night - Live, a concert celebrating the newest Red Hot album. The show took place at Radio City Music Hall and featured several of the artists that contributed to the compilation.
Clogs is a mostly-instrumental improvising quartet led by Bryce and Padma Newsome. Since 2001, they have released five widely acclaimed albums on Brassland Records, and have toured with The Books in the UK and played at the Sydney Festival. Clogs' music served as the soundtrack to the Chris Eigeman film Turn the River.
Clogs' musical style and approach is hard to categorize. Although the band members all play classical instruments (they met at the Yale School of Music), their writing process is more akin to that of a rock band or a jazz quartet. Drawing upon a vast variety of styles and influences, the group members bring basic ideas and riffs into rehearsals, which, through group improvisations they then develop into complex, larger-scale pieces. Their music is often influenced by minimalism, folk and rock music, Americana, modernism and Indian classical music.
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
Crossing Brooklyn Ferry is a music festival curated by Aaron and Bryce Dessner. The festival showcases bands, composers, singer-songwriters and filmmakers from all corners of the New York music scene. The inaugural festival took place May 3–5, 2012 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and included performances by the Walkmen, St. Vincent, Beirut, The Antlers, yMusic and Jherek Bischoff, as well as newly commissioned films by Jonas Mekas, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tunde Adebimpe, among others. Last year's event took place April 25–27, 2013 at BAM and included performances by The Roots, Solange, TV on the Radio, Phosphorescent and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The event also featured a curated program of film shorts and a visual art installation by Andrew Ondrejcak.
The MusicNOW Festival was founded by Bryce in April 2006. The festival is an annual showcase of the best in contemporary music held in Cincinnati, Ohio, featuring a variety of contemporary musicians from around the world. The festival is held at the 100-year old Hamilton County Memorial Hall where artist Karl Jensen has created an art installation for the event. Each year's festival has included world premieres of new works commissioned by the festival, including a collaboration between David Cossin and Glenn Kotche, new arrangements for a string quartet from Sufjan Stevens, new work from Clogs and new music by Richard Reed Parry (of Arcade Fire).
- "Memorial" commissioned by the New York Guitar Festival and 92nd Street Y, 2006.
- "Turn the River" score for the independent film, co-composed with Padma Newsome as Clogs, and commissioned by Mr. Nice Film Productions, 2007.
- Quintets commissioned by the Kitchen and American Composers Forum through a grant from the Jerome Foundation, 2007.
- Raphael commissioned by the Kitchen and American Composers Forum through a grant from the Jermone Foundation, 2007.
- Propolis co-composed with David Sheppard and Evan Ziporyn, and commissioned by Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary, 2008.
- Lincoln Shuffle commissioned by the Rosenbach Library for Abraham Lincoln’s Bicentennial, 2009.
- Aheym commissioned by the Kronos Quartet for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, 2009.
- The Long Count co-composed with Aaron Dessner, and commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, 2009.
- O Shut Your Eyes Against the Wind commissioned by the People’s Commissioning Fund and Bang on a Can for the Ecstatic Music Festival, 2010.
- Tour Eiffel commissioned by the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Kaufman Center, the Manhattan New Music Project and the Ecstatic Music Festival, 2010.
- Tenebre commissioned by the Kronos Quartet and the Barbican Centre, 2010.
- Long Winter written for cellist Zachary Miskin, and commissioned by Naive Records, 2010.
- 'To The Sea premiered during the “Monstrance” installation collaboration with Matthew Ritchie at L&M Arts Los Angeles, 2011.
- St. Carolyn by the Sea commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and Muziekcentrum Eindhoven, 2011.
- Lachrimae commissioned by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, the Scottish Ensemble, and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, 2012.
- Little Blue Something written for the Kronos Quartet, 2012.
- Murder Ballades commissioned by eighth blackbird and Luna Park, 2013.
- Music For Wood And Strings commissioned by Carnegie Hall, 2013.
- New Work (Title TBA) commissioned by the National Audiovisual Institute of Poland, 2013.
- New Work (Title TBA) commissioned by the Kronos Quartet, 2014.
- Tower of Babel (Project Nim)
- Where the Nothings Live (Project Nim)
- Evenings Pop and Curve (Project Nim)
- The National (October 30, 2001)
- Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (September 2, 2003)
- Alligator (April 12, 2005)
- Boxer (May 22, 2007) U.S. #68
- High Violet (May 10, 2010)
- Trouble Will Find Me (May 17, 2013)
- Aheym (November 5, 2013) (Kronos Quartet)
- "Abel" (Beggars Banquet Records, March 14, 2005)
- "Secret Meeting" (Beggars Banquet Records, August 29, 2005)
- "Lit Up" (Beggars Banquet Records, November 14, 2005)
- "Mistaken for Strangers" (Beggars Banquet Records, April 30, 2007)
- "Apartment Story" (Beggars Banquet Records, November 5, 2007)
- "Fake Empire" (Beggars Banquet Records, June 23, 2008)
- "Bloodbuzz Ohio" (4AD, May 3, 2010)
- "Anyone's Ghost" (4AD, June 28, 2010)
- "Terrible Love" (4AD, November 22, 2010)
- "Think You Can Wait" (March 22, 2011)
- "Conversation 16" (4AD, March 29, 2011)
- "Exile Vilify" (April 19, 2011)
Film and home video
- A Skin, a Night (May 20, 2008) by Vincent Moon
- Big Sur (soundtrack)
- Garratt, John (6 November 2013). "Kronos Quartet: Bryce Dessner: Aheym". PopMatters.
- "Bryce Dessner: Work List".
- "Brassland About Us". Retrieved 2012-05-05.
- The Guardian
- "The Morning Line".
- "Dark Was The Night". Retrieved 2012-05-05.
- "Music Now Festival".
- Billboard, Allmusic
- Official website
- Official site of The National
- Official site of Clogs
- Official site of Post Hoc Management