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The National’s Bryce Dessner Named Artist-In-Residence at Yale’s Schwarzman Center

Musician will assemble, commission and perform a host of new multi-disciplinary work in the next year
(Photo by Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Citi)

The National‘s Bryce Dessner is returning to his pre-fame alma mater of Yale as the first Artist-In-Residence at the university’s newly opened Schwarzman Center. Dessner has “curated and commissioned new multi-disciplinary works from a roster of creators” such as Julia Bullock, Ash Fure, Nathalie Joachim, Kaneza Schaal and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir, which will be performed over the next year. He will also hold free master classes for Yale students and alumni.

“I’m most often inspired by people who are different than me, who have a challenging idea, and so, I tend to enjoy working not only with untrained musicians, student musicians, musicians from different cultures, but also non-musical partners like writers, choreographers, filmmakers and visual artists,” says Dessner, a Cincinnati native who opted for Yale while his twin brother Aaron went to Columbia in New York City. “That’s why I am eager to reconnect with a deeper well at the Yale Schwarzman Center and truly give back to a place that fostered my own growth as a musician.”

Beyond the commissions, Dessner will be involved in “a major new theatrical project” produced by ArKtype and directed by Kaneza Schaal, as well as performances by his group Dream House Quartet for piano and guitar. The latter will stage U.S. and world premieres of works commissioned by the Schwarzman Center, as well as music by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and legendary minimalist composer Philio Glass.

Dessner is well-known in apart from his work in The National, for which he often provides arrangements for non-rock instruments. He has collaborated with Glass, Steve Reich, Paul Simon, Taylor Swift and Justin Peck, while also scoring such films as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant and Netflix’s The Two Popes. Dessner and Iñárritu re-teamed for the latter’s new film Bardo (False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths), which will hit theaters in November.

The National recently released the new song “Weird Goodbyes” featuring Bon Iver; the track will appear on the band’s upcoming album, due in the coming months. “Weird Goodbyes” and several other new songs have been played on The National’s summer world tour, which hits Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver tonight (Sept. 12).