Award-winning composer, curator and guitarist for the National, Bryce Dessner discusses his multifaceted work.
American musician Bryce Dessner is best known as the guitarist for the wildly successful indie rock band the National, but he’s building a fascinating career away from the band as a composer and curator. His orchestral, chamber and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonics, Kronos Quartet, Barbican Centre and New York City Ballet, among many others, and he has worked with artists such as Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Johnny Greenwood, Justin Peck, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Matthew Ritchie. His work “Murder Ballads,” featured on eighth blackbird’s album Filament (an album he also produced and performs on) won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance. In the fall of 2015 Dessner was tapped, along with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto, to compose music for Oscar-winning director Alejandro Iñárritu’s film, The Revenant, which received a 2016 Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score and a 2017 Grammy nomination in the Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media category. Currently living in Paris, Dessner is composing for major European ensembles and soloists. In this Fireside Chat, the prolific artist discusses his compositional practice, collaborations and more.