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Bryce Dessner

Publisher: Chester Music

Murder Ballades (2013)
Work Notes
Available for performances after April 2015 for the world excluding Australia where it is available after January 2016
Chester Music Ltd
Works for 2-6 Players
Year Composed
20 Minutes
Purchase CD
Programme Note
Bryce Dessner Murder Ballades (2013)
Commissioned by eighth blackbird and Lunapark and funded by The Doelen Concert Hall, Rotterdam, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Amsterdam, and Muziekgebouw Frits Philips, Eindhoven, with the financial support of The Van Beinum Foundation, The Netherlands

Preview the score

  • 05 AUG 2018
    Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music, Sullivan, NH
    Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music - summer camp students final concert
  • 06 MAY 2018
    Sousa Hall, Marine Barracks Annex, Washington DC
    United States Marine Band Chamber Ensemble
  • 07 APR 2018
    Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle, WA
    The Sound Ensemble
    Bobby Collins, conductor
  • 26 JAN 2018
    New Society for Ethical Culture, New York, NY
  • 15 DEC 2017
    Goldsmiths, University of London, UK
    Goldsmiths Contemporary Music Ensemble
    Andrew Zolinsky, conductor
  • 24 OCT 2017
    Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, VA
    United States Army Band
    COL Esch, conductor
  • 18 FEB 2017
    Venice Island Performing Arts CenterManayunk, Philadelphia
    Orchestra 2001
    Randall Scarlata, baritone
  • 17 FEB 2017
    Lang Concert Hall, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, US
    Orchestra 2001
    Jayce Ogren, conductor

    Other Dates:
    18 February - Venice Island Theater, Manayunk Philadelphia, US
  • 08 DEC 2016
    Doral, FL
    Nu Deco Ensemble
    Jacomo Bairos, conductor
  • 21 OCT 2016
    Waterbury Center, VT
    Anne Decker, conductor

    Other Dates:
    23 October - Waterbury Center, VT
  • 25 SEP 2016
    Paris, France
    Eighth Blackbird
    Katia und Marielle Labèque, piano
  • 20 AUG 2016
    Aspen Music Festival
    Harris Concert Hall, Aspen, Colorado
    Aspen Contemporary Ensemble
  • 14 MAY 2016
    Murder Ballades
    Garcia Counterpoint
    El Chan European Premiere
    Tuusula European Premiere
    Bryce Dessner Festival
    Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, Netherlands
    Nicolas Altstaedt and Bryce Dessner
  • 20 SEP 2015
    Sounds from a Safe Harbour
    Cork Opera House, Ireland
    Crash Ensemble, So Percussion
    Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner, Aaron Dessner, Richard Reed Parry, Yuki Numata Resnick, Nadia Sirota
  • 28 AUG 2015
    Edinburgh International Festival 2015
    The Hub, Edinburgh, Scotland
    Scottish Chamber Orchestra
    Gerry Cornelius, conductor
  • 05 MAR 2015
    New Music New Haven
    Yale School of Music, US
    Yale School of Music
  • 06 FEB 2014
    Murder Ballades New York Premiere
    The Kitchen, New York (extract)
    eigth blackbird

    Other Dates:
    7 February - The Kitchen, New York (extract)
  • 23 NOV 2013
    Still in Motion
    Baldwin Auditorium; Durham, NC
    Eighth Blackbird

    Other Dates:
    28 January 2014 - Jones Concert Hall; Waco, TX
    29 March 2014 - Royce Hall; Los Angeles, CA
    19 March 2014 - Camp Concert Hall; Richmond, VA
    31 January 2014 - Dimnent Chapel; Holland, MI
    1 April 2014 - University of Idaho Auditorium; Moscow, ID
    13 April 2014 - SUNY Purchase; Purchase, NY
    4 April 2014 - Music Recital Hall, Southern Oregon University; Ashland, OR
    29 April 2014 - Waetjen Auditorium; Cleveland, OH
    21 March 2014 - Cincinnati, USA
    5-7 April 2014 - Evanston, IL
    19 June 2014 - Jay Pritzker Pavillion, Chicago, IL, USA
    26 June 2014 - Hahn Hall, Music Academy West, Santa Barbara, USA
    25 July 2014 - Lincoln Center, New York, USA
    26 October 2014 - New England Conservatory, Boston, USA
    21 November 2014 - Davidson College, Davidson, NC, USA
    17 January 2015 - Rackham Auditorium, Univerity of Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
    7 February 2015 - Jones Playhouse, University of Washington, US
    15 March 2015 - College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA
    2 April 2015 - Schwab Auditorium, University Park, PA
    28 April 2017; 4 May 2017 - Klarman Hall Auditorium, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
    13 November 2015 - McCullough Theatre, University of Texas, Austin, TX
    9 May 2015 - Milton Court, Barbican Centre, London
  • 17 SEP 2013
    Murder Ballades Country Premiere
    Choreography by Justin Peck
    Maison de la Danse, Lyon, France
    LA Dance Project

    Other Dates:
    18-21 September - Maison de la Danse, Lyon, France
    2-4 October - Sadlers Wells, London
    19-22 August 2015 - Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, MA
    16-18 October 2014 - Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, USA
    22,23 July 2016 - Chateauvallon, France
  • 01 MAY 2013
    eighth blackbird with Dessner and Muhly
    Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, US
    Eighth Blackbird

    Other Dates:
    2 May - Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, US
  • 05 APR 2013
    Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, The Netherlands

    Other Dates:
    7 April - De Doelen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
    6 April - Muziekgebouw aan `t IJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Murder Ballades by composer and guitarist Bryce Dessner was inspired by folk songs about real and imagined killings from America’s early settlement. Dessner takes the song’s melodic material as a starting point, wrapping it in evocative accompaniments to create a highly charged atmosphere. With the use of inside piano techniques, wailing string glissandos, stamping chords and other effects, he crafts a wonderfully imaginative sound palette. Brushy Fork, a Civil War fiddle tune, brought the house down with its driving rhythm and foot-stomping jollity.
Mark Coughlan, The Weekend Australian,23/02/2017
Murder Ballads from 'star of the New York City Ballet' Justin Peck accompanied by music from Bryce Dessner, composer and guitarist known for his work in rock band The National, is easy on the eye and ear, a mix of old and new. American folk tradition replicated in modern style- Agnes de Mille, Aaron Copland, wide-open Oklahoma prairie lands occupy my imagination.
Vera Liber, British Theatre Guide,04/10/2013
Bryce Dessner's fascinating score is based on American ballads about murder, and I saw choreography of buoyant energy, with gesture sweetly and skilfully set within movement, which sailed along with its music, lived in it, and engaged its cast in actions that sat happily, flatteringly on their bodies, and bothered not at all with a carrier-pigeon task as "messenger".
Clement Crisp, Financial Times,04/10/2013
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