Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bryce Dessner's Aheym

Today, let’s look at a composer who comes from Cincinnati and frequently returns for collaborations with the CSO. Who might I be referring to? Bryce Dessner – the founder of the MusicNOW Festival.

Though primarily known as a guitarist with The National, Dessner also has made quite the career for himself as a composer! He has had a good number of commissions from major ensembles including the LA Philharmonic, the Kronos Quartet, and the New York City Ballet. He has also written works for artists including Jennifer Koh and Katia and Marielle Labeque.

Growing up in Cincinnati, Dessner began his music studies on the flute, but quickly moved to classical guitar. He also had a band with his brother and often wondered how he might fuse the two musical paths. This task turned into a successful and creative career.

What works by Dessner are you familiar with? Today, let’s look at a piece commissioned by the Kronos Quartet in 2009. Aheym (homeward in Yiddish) is dedicated his grandmother, who often told Bryce and his brother as children certain details of how she made it to America (the family includes Jewish immigrants). 

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