Composer Dessner: balancing orchestral writing and indie rock band

Posted on: June 18, 2015

“You know who Bryce Dessner is: Guitarist and one of the principal songwriters in The National, he’s a borderline deity in indie circles,” writes Dan Lucas on Wednesday (6/17) at the blog Drowned in Sound. Lucas interviews Dessner about his work with The National as well as orchestral and chamber compositions such as St. Carolyn by the Sea and Music for Wood and Strings. “The stuff I do more on my own with orchestras and with … contemporary music ensembles is often done in more intimate venues, which I love. I love the challenge of that and making music that can be more ambitious instrumentally.” Commenting about Quilting, a commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dessner says, “I was thinking a lot about being, in the 21st century, a young American composer writing for orchestra. As I was writing the score I started to think about the score itself having a kind of quilt-like pattern to it. If you look at a large orchestra score there’s so much geometry to it…. It’s also kind of a wink of the eye towards the American tradition of quilting.… We have a strong tradition of American composers, especially now with people like John Adams, who is a real master of orchestra music.”

Posted June 18, 2015