Bryce Dessner

b. 1976

American

Summary

Bryce Dessner is a vital and rare force in new music. He has won Grammy Awards as a classical
composer and with the band The National, of which he is founding member, guitarist, arranger, and coprincipal songwriter. He is regularly commissioned to write for the world’s leading ensembles, from Orchestre de Paris to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and is a high-profile presence in film score composition, with credits including Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, for which he was Grammy and Golden Globe nominated. This year his album Tenebre with renowned German string orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, won both an Opus Klassik award in Germany and a Diapason d’Or in France.

Dessner collaborates with some of today’s most creative and respected artists, including Philip Glass, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Jonny Greenwood, Bon Iver, Nico Muhly, and Steve Reich. His orchestrations can be heard on the latest albums of Paul Simon, Bon Iver and Taylor Swift.

In addition to his role as one of eight San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partners, Dessner is
currently Artist-in-Residence at London’s Southbank Centre and with Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Orchestra. His recent major works include Concerto for Two Pianos for Katia and Marielle Labèque,
premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon; Trombone Concerto which premiered in Cologne in 2020; Voy a Dormir for Kelley O’Connor and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s; Skrik Trio for Steve Reich and Carnegie Hall; the ballet No Tomorrow co-written with Ragnar Kjartansson; and Wires for Ensemble Intercontemporain. In 2019, Gautier Capuçon premiered a new work by Dessner commissioned by Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered Triptych (Eyes for One on Another), a major theater piece integrating the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. Also in 2019, New York’s Metropolitan Museum featured a song by Dessner in one of its first contemporary installations. Most recently Dessner scored the music—involving full orchestra and a 200-member choir—for the Louis Vuitton catwalk show in March 2020 as part of Paris Fashion Week. Future projects include a world premiere with Sydney Dance Company and the Australian String Quartet.

Dessner’s albums include St. Carolyn by the Sea on Deutsche Grammophon; Aheym, commissioned by Kronos Quartet; Tenebre, performed by Ensemble Resonanz (2019); and When we are inhuman by Dessner, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Eighth Blackbird (2019). Dessner’s other film score credits include The Two Popes, which was nominated for a World Soundtrack award. In spring 2019 The National released its latest album, I am Easy to Find.

Also active as a curator, Dessner is regularly requested to program festivals and residencies around the world, at venues such as at the Barbican, Philharmonie de Paris, and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. He co-founded and curates the festivals MusicNOW in Cincinnati, HAVEN in Copenhagen, Sounds from a Safe Harbour and PEOPLE.

Bryce Dessner lives in Paris.

Critical Acclaim
Dessner is exactly the kind of composer who personifies what might be next for classical music. — Mark Swed, LA Times

Dessner personifies what appears to be a generational shift in musicians —Thomas Huizenga, Washington Post

Whoever wants to commission his first symphony would probably be rewarded with something fantastic — Jayson Greene, Pitchfork

Bryce Dessner is a man who slips in and out of musical guises with disarming ease…this is gorgeous and full-hearted music. — NPR

Biography

Bryce Dessner is a vital and rare force in new music. He has won Grammy Awards as a classical
composer and with the band The National, of which he is founding member, guitarist, arranger, and coprincipal songwriter. He is regularly commissioned to write for the world’s leading ensembles, from Orchestre de Paris to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and is a high-profile presence in film score composition, with credits including Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant, for which he was Grammy and Golden Globe nominated. This year his album Tenebre with renowned German string orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, won both an Opus Klassik award in Germany and a Diapason d’Or in France.

Dessner collaborates with some of today’s most creative and respected artists, including Philip Glass, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Jonny Greenwood, Bon Iver, Nico Muhly, and Steve Reich. His orchestrations can be heard on the latest albums of Paul Simon, Bon Iver and Taylor Swift.

In addition to his role as one of eight San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partners, Dessner is
currently Artist-in-Residence at London’s Southbank Centre and with Frankfurt Radio Symphony
Orchestra. His recent major works include Concerto for Two Pianos for Katia and Marielle Labèque,
premiered by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon; Trombone Concerto which premiered in Cologne in 2020; Voy a Dormir for Kelley O’Connor and the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s; Skrik Trio for Steve Reich and Carnegie Hall; the ballet No Tomorrow co-written with Ragnar Kjartansson; and Wires for Ensemble Intercontemporain. In 2019, Gautier Capuçon premiered a new work by Dessner commissioned by Fondation Louis Vuitton and the Los Angeles Philharmonic premiered Triptych (Eyes for One on Another), a major theater piece integrating the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe. Also in 2019, New York’s Metropolitan Museum featured a song by Dessner in one of its first contemporary installations. Most recently Dessner scored the music—involving full orchestra and a 200-member choir—for the Louis Vuitton catwalk show in March 2020 as part of Paris Fashion Week. Future projects include a world premiere with Sydney Dance Company and the Australian String Quartet.

Dessner’s albums include St. Carolyn by the Sea on Deutsche Grammophon; Aheym, commissioned by Kronos Quartet; Tenebre, performed by Ensemble Resonanz (2019); and When we are inhuman by Dessner, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Eighth Blackbird (2019). Dessner’s other film score credits include The Two Popes, which was nominated for a World Soundtrack award. In spring 2019 The National released its latest album, I am Easy to Find.

Also active as a curator, Dessner is regularly requested to program festivals and residencies around the world, at venues such as at the Barbican, Philharmonie de Paris, and Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. He co-founded and curates the festivals MusicNOW in Cincinnati, HAVEN in Copenhagen, Sounds from a Safe Harbour and PEOPLE.

Bryce Dessner lives in Paris.

News

Performances

3rd November 2020

SOLOISTS
Katia and Marielle Labèque, pianos
PERFORMERS
HR Sinfonieorchester
CONDUCTOR
Andrés Orozco-Estrada
LOCATION
Musikverein, Vienna, Austria

14th November 2020

PERFORMERS
NewMusicWorks Ensemble
CONDUCTOR
Philip Collins
LOCATION
Barbara Samper Recital Hall, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA, United States

20th November 2020

SOLOISTS
Abel Selaocoe cello and voice / Sidiki Dembélé, kora and percussion / Alan Keary, bass guitar
PERFORMERS
BBC Concert Orchestra
LOCATION
Southbank Centre, London, United Kingdom

26th November 2020

PERFORMERS
Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
Lan Shui
LOCATION
Concert Hall in Helsingborg, Helsingborg, Sweden

6th December 2020

PERFORMERS
Australian Chamber Orchestra
CONDUCTOR
Richard Tognetti
LOCATION
UKARIA Cultural Centre, Mount Barker, Australia

Features

  • Socially Distanced Onstage Works
    • Socially Distanced Onstage Works
    • With times of uncertainty ahead for the classical music community, we have compiled a selection of repertoire for small orchestra and chamber ensembles that allows for onstage social distancing.
  • A busy season for Bryce Dessner
    • A busy season for Bryce Dessner
    • Music by Bryce Dessner has been widely commissioned around the world and includes collaborations with some of today’s most creative and respected artists - the 2020-21 season is no exception.

Photos

Discography