BRYCE DESSNER is one of the most sought-after composers of his generation, with a rapidly expanding catalog of works commissioned by leading ensembles. Known to many as a guitarist with The National, he is also active as a curator – a vital force in the flourishing realm of new creative music. His orchestral, chamber, and vocal compositions have been commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet, BAM Next Wave Festival, Barbican Centre, Edinburgh International Festival, Sydney Festival, eighth blackbird, Sō Percussion, New York City Ballet, and many others.
The Perfect Moment (World Premiere, Summer 2019)
Nearly 30 years after Robert Mappelthorpe’s death, we still cannot turn away from what his photos reveal. From this point of departure a new music theater work is conceived. Composer Bryce Dessner and director Daniel Fish in collaboration with Roomful of Teeth and a musical ensemble of 10-15 players seek to make theatrical the ways Mapplethorpe’s works compel an audience’s complicity and characterize them in the act of attention. As a young man growing up in Cincinnati, Dessner’s own exposure to the protests surrounding this galvanizing artist rooted a lifelong kinship to his pivotal body of work. Mapplethorpe’s pictures both unite and divide viewers, provoking a consideration of perceived opposites–their literal as well emotional and cultural meanings – Black/White, Male/Female, Gay/Straight, Art/Porn, Classical/Contemporary. His pictures seduce, shock, offend, excite, intrigue and scare us all at once. Single images take our breath away through the classic capture of everyday acts of nature and the beauty of their composition. On the other hand, a single image has the power to reveal our fears and our desires and the razor-thin line between the two. This is the dynamic that Fish and Dessner seek to convey. Normally, we confront this work privately, flipping through coffee table books or seeing the work in a museum gallery. But in The Perfect Moment, they ask an audience to experience these reactions collectively. Through music, large scale projection of Mapplethorpe’s Images, and a use of both theatrical and photographic lighting techniques, the work puts the audience inside the artist’s view finder, inside his beautiful, bold, voracious view of how nature and humans look, touch, feel, hurt and love one another.
The Perfect Moment is the first live/theatrical performance granted permission to integrate the work of Robert Mapplethorpe.
Composition: Bryce Dessner
Choral Ensemble: Roomful of Teeth
Direction: Daniel Fish
Music Director & Conductor: Brad Wells
The Perfect Moment (In Development)
World Premiere (Summer 2019)
600 HIGHWAYMEN | The Fever
600 HIGHWAYMEN | The Fever