“Dessner personifies what appears to be a generational shift in musicians. – The Washington Post

BRYCE DESSNER / Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

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.


TRIPTYCH (Eyes of One on Another)

Composed by Bryce Dessner
Libretto by Korde Arrington Tuttle
Directed by Daniel Fish
Featuring Roomful of Teeth

World Premiere:
LA Phil, March 5, 2019 (Concert Version)
University Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI (Theatrical Version)

Produced by ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann in Cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Nearly 30 years after Robert Mapplethorpe’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, Librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle and director Daniel Fish in collaboration with Roomful of Teeth and a musical ensemble of 12 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. We confront this work privately, flipping through coffee table books or seeing the work in a museum gallery. But in Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), Dessner, Tuttle & Fish ask an audience to experience these reactions collectively. Through music, 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.

Produced in Residency with and Commissioned by University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Co-produced by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Music and Artistic Director. The work was co-commissioned by BAM; Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada; Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati, OH; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Stanford Live, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Adelaide Festival, Australia; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for performance as part of DirectCurrent 2019; ArtsEmerson: World on Stage, Emerson College, Boston, MA; Texas Performing Arts, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Barbican Centre, London; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

This project received a workshop through “Opera Fusion: New Works,” a joint venture between Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as a residency development through MassMOCA, North Adams, MA.


Artist Press Kit
Artist website


Triptych (working title)

March 5, 2019 – LA Phil, Disney Hall, Los Angeles, CA (World Premiere, Concert Version)
March 16-17, 2019 – University Musical Society, Ann Arbor, MI (World Premiere, Theatrical Version)
April 6, 2019 – Direct Current, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, DC

Worldwide Touring 2019-2021 OPEN