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Composer: Dessner, Bryce (b. 1976)

Find classical music concert, opera, ballet and dance listings | Dessner
Fact file
Year of birth1976
NationalityUnited States
January 2021
Evening performance
Matinee performance
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PragueKatia and Marielle Labèque

© Petra Hajska
Dessner, Mozart, Dvořák
Czech Philharmonic; Semyon Bychkov; Katia Labèque; Marielle Labèque

LondonMusic of Today: Bryce Dessner

Philharmonia Orchestra
Robin O'Neill; Players from the Philharmonia Orchestra

ParisBryce Dessner & Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France

Sibelius, Dessner, Tchaikovsky
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; Santtu-Matias Rouvali; Bryce Dessner

ParisSemyon Bychkov & Czech Philharmonic

Dessner, Mozart, Dvořák
Czech Philharmonic; Semyon Bychkov; Katia Labèque; Marielle Labèque


Dessner: Impermanence
Rafael Bonachela; Sydney Dance Company; David Fleischer; Aleisa Jelbart; Damien Cooper; Australian String Quartet
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Stark raving: SDC clubs out with Forever & Ever

Frame of Mind © Pedro Greig
Sydney Dance Company's contrasting double bill revisits Rafael Bonachela's elegantly reflective Frame of Mind and premieres Antony Hamilton's bemusing and rave-inspired Forever & Ever.
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Exciting collaborations in Dutch Doubles

Yuanyuan Zhang & Martin ten Kortenaar in Impermanence © Hans Gerritsen
Ballet and pop music meet in a new work by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and other exciting collaborations by Ernst Meisner, Hans van Manen and Wubkje Kuindersma
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Unexpected promise: Bryce Dessner at the Elbphilharmonie

Aaron and Bryce Dessner © Claudia Höhne
Launching a new “Reflektor” series of short festivals, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie invited Bryce Dessner to curate two days of concerts.
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From Baroque'n'roll to contemporary at Kings Place

Leonard Elschenbroich © Felix Broede
Leonard Elschenbroich joined with the 12 ensemble for an evening dedicated to the Suite italienne, a stroll through time though with a focus on contemporary composers.
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The Times They Are a-Changin': Nixon Tapes in Sydney

Andrew Mogrelia © Matthew Washburn
The fascinating politics of this opera are diminished by the presentation of just four scenes. The music and three strong performances almost make up as Sydney gets its first taste of this work.
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You can read our October 2013 interview with Bryce Dessner here.

Bryce Dessner is a composer, guitarist, and curator based in New York City, best known as the guitarist for the acclaimed rock band The National. Their albums Alligator (2005), Boxer (2007) and High Violet (2010) were named among albums of the decade in publications throughout the world. Their most recent release, Trouble Will Find Me (2013), debuted at #3 on both the US Billboard Chart and the UK Albums Chart. Dessner has also received widespread acclaim as a composer and guitarist for the improvising new music quartet, Clogs. Bryce has performed and recorded with some of the world’s most creative musicians including songwriters Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, Antony Hegarty and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo; composers Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Nico Muhly and Michael Gordon; contemporary ensembles Kronos Quartet and eighth blackbird, and visual artist Matthew Ritchie.

As a composer, his recent commissions include “Murder Ballades” for eighth blackbird, a new work for So Percussion that will premiere at Carnegie Hall in November 2013, and an evening length collaboration with Brooklyn Youth Chorus celebrating the artistic endeavors of the Black Mountain College. In November 2013, Anti- will release the album Aheym featuring the first recordings of Bryce’s compositions, performed by Kronos Quartet. The album will include his compositions “Tenebre,” “Little Blue Something,” Tour Eiffel,” and “Aheym.”

2012 brought a collaborative song cycle with Sufjan Stevens and Nico Muhly called Planetarium, as well as new commissions for the Amsterdam Sinfonietta. Other recent commissions include a Jerome Grant from the American Composer’s Forum and the Kitchen (NYC) for a concert of his music, a commission from Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna) to create a 40-minute spatial sound work for the Morning Line, and a string orchestra composition from the Amsterdam Sinfonietta entitled “St. Carolyn by the Sea.” Other important works include a commission by the Rosenbach Library in Philadelphia for “The Lincoln Shuffle” (a composition in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bi-centennial) and “The Long Count” (an origins story told in music and video, commissioned by BAM for the 2009 Next Wave Festival). Bryce also recently composed two string quartets, “Aheym” and “Tenebre,” for the Kronos Quartet.

Dessner is the founder and artistic director of the acclaimed MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, which will present its ninth season in 2014. He is also a co-founder and owner of the Brassland record label, which is home to a diverse group of artists including the experimental rock duo Buke and Gase, celebrated young composer Nico Muhly and cellist Erik Friedlander. In addition, Bryce and his brother Aaron produced an extensive AIDS charity compilation, Dark was the Night, for the Red Hot Organization. The ambitious record features exclusive new recordings and collaborations from a long list of artists including David Byrne, Arcade Fire, Sufjan Stevens, Sharon Jones, Cat Power, Grizzly Bear, My Morning Jacket and Spoon. Dark was the Night has raised over 2 million dollars for AIDS charities as of January 2012. Dessner is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Music. He currently serves on the board of The Kitchen in New York City and is a composer-in-residence at Muziekgebouw Eindhoven.