July 1, 2009

A General Bryce Dessner Update

In our previous update on The National, 15 year-old Scott G. wrote us an e-mail asking about the band's new album and its creative process. Seeing the value of digital communication, National and Clogs guitarist Bryce Dessner sat down and composed an electronic letter for us, as well, detailing the various projects that will be keeping him busy over the next few months. So without further ado...

An Update On My Music-Related Happenings, by Bryce Dessner

Hello everyone - happy rainy summer! There are a few big events for me coming up this summer and fall that I felt like I should share with you. They are happening in various locations both in NY and elsewhere so hopefully you will be able to make one of them. Ok, so here it goes:

Steve Reich’s "2X5" - On July 2nd in Manchester, UK, I am premiering a new work by composer Steve Reich called "2X5." It was written for two guitars, bass, piano, and drums (both pre-recorded and live, so there are two of everything, hence the title "2X5"). I have spent the past few months rehearsing and recording it with Steve and musicians from Bang On a Can. It's been a great experience. If you happen to be in England on July 2 and are interested, you can get more information here.

We are opening for Kraftwerk (hence the picture above)...which will be fun and weird.

Kronos Quartet - On July 16th in Prospect Park, as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn festival, Kronos Quartet will premiere a 10-minute string quartet they commissioned me to write for them. The piece is called "Aheym," which means "homeward" in Yiddish and is dedicated to my 96-year old Russian-immigrant grandmother, Sally Dessner. If you miss the New York show they are also playing the piece this summer and fall on these dates (road trip to Poland anyone?!).

The Long Count, BAM Next Wave Festival - My brother Aaron and I have been working for the past year on a large commission for the BAM Next Wave Festival called The Long Count. The piece is a collaboration with visual artist Matthew Ritchie and includes four guest singers: Kim and Kelley Deal (of the Breeders/Pixies), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), and Matt Berninger (The National). The piece is 60-minutes long and includes a film and set by Matthew Ritchie, a twelve-person ensemble, and is loosely based on the Mayan creation story "Popol Vuh" (which is about twin brothers playing a ballgame).

We will also perform The Long Count on September 11 at the Krannert Center in Champaign Urbana, Illinois. You can find information here.

The National, Summer 2009 - Ok, last announcement: The National are touring this summer. Those dates are here and include a headlining show on the Saturday night of the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and a concert at Royal Festival Hall in London.

That’s it. Have a great summer.


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