Aaron and Bryce Dessner

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Aaron and Bryce Dessner are twin brothers and members of the rock band The National. Aaron Dessner writes the majority of the music for The National. The brothers are co-founders, alongside Alec Hanley Bemis, of Brassland,[1] a label that is home to artists including The National, the Clogs, catalog and releases by Doveman and Nico Muhly.


The two Dessners also write, produce, and perform contemporary music internationally in collaboration with many artists. In August, 2008, 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 at the Palace of the Kings of Majorca in Perpignan, France. They also performed at Matthew Ritchie's Ghost Operator opening at the White Cube Gallery[2] in London.

Aaron and Bryce Dessner curated the Red Hot Compilation Dark Was the Night 20th Anniversary compilation which features 32 tracks and was released in February 2009.[3] The compilation includes songs from The National, a version of Bob Dylan's "I Was Young When I Left Home" performed by Antony of Antony and the Johnsons with Bryce Dessner on guitar, and a new song "Big Red Machine" written by Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Both performed on Sufjan Stevens cover of the Castanets song "You Are the Blood." In 2009,The brothers also co-produced the Dark Was the Night concert at Radio City Music Hall with the Red Hot Organization.

They were also a part of the 1990s rock band Project Nim, a progressive ensemble that was formed with Bryan Devendorf, Jenn Howard and another set of brothers, Charles and David Milling. During the late 1990s they toured primarily throughout the Northeastern United States while Bryce finished his academic career at Yale.

The Long Count[edit]

The Long Count is a large commission for the BAM Next Wave Festival that finds Bryce and Aaron working alongside 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 a number of guest singers, including Kim and Kelley Deal (The Breeders, The Pixies), Matt Berninger (The National), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio). The work had its world premiere at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in September 2009 as part of the Ellnora Festival. It has since been performed at BAM, the Holland Festival and the Barbican.

Discography (Both)[edit]




  • "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[edit]

External links[edit]