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Artist-in-Resident Spotlight - Bryce Dessner

Straddling the worlds of rock music, classical music and film, Bryce Dessner is the very model of a modern major composer. 

Achieving fame as the multi-instrumentalist linchpin and co-writer for the Grammy Award-winning American rock band The National, the Cincinnati, Ohio-born Dessner is also one of today’s most original and successful classical composers.

The son of a jazz drummer father, Dessner’s early musical education was eclectic, his later at the prestigious Yale University. An encounter with the music of minimalist guru Steve Reich was transformative.

To mention his collaborations with pop royalty Taylor Swift and Paul Simon, and classical elites such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, the Kronos Quartet, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Edinburgh International and Sydney Festivals, only scratches the surface of a remarkable and unmatched talent.

Away from stadium-filling rock concerts, Dessner has scored the Oscar-nominated film The Revenant, composed for ballet, solo classical instruments, award-wining chamber music, and concertos for electric guitar, trombone and two pianos; all marked by boundary-defying innovation. No wonder Gramophone magazine described him as speaking with ‘a multitude of voices’.

2024 - 2025 Season 

Get to know Dessner’s music this season with four Irish premieres: Mari, named after the Basque forest goddess; his Violin Concerto meditating on pilgrimage and the sea, played by its dedicatee, Pekka Kuusisto (November 15); his re-imagining of Pérotin, The Forest, courtesy of Gautier Capuçon’s cello ensemble Capucelli (March 26); and his Concerto for Two Pianos performed by Katia and Marielle Labèque, for whom it was written (April 11). That same concert will also see Dessner himself as guitarist in his Jack Kerouac-inspired St. Carolyn by the Sea.

As part of this residency, Dessner will also compose a newly commissioned Cello Symphony which will receive its world premiere in November 2025 with cellist Anastasia Kobekina and the National Symphony Orchestra.