Sony Music Masterworks announces today a unique far-reaching partnership with versatile composer, sought-after musical collaborator and guitarist Bryce Dessner, who is also a founding member of Grammy Award-winning rock band The National. The newly inked partnership will see Dessner’s classical compositions released on Sony Classical, while sister label Milan Records will continue to be a home for some of his celebrated soundtracks. This innovative tailored approach will give Dessner maximum artistic freedom to pursue these two essential strands of his creative output. 

Dessner will make his Sony Classical début on August 23, 2024 with Solos, a collection featuring a series of unaccompanied instrumental works written by the composer over the past few years. Selected from both his classical and soundtrack worlds, the works showcase not only Dessner’s compositional flair but also the immense talent of his acclaimed collaborators, many of whom work regularly with him and are his friends. Featured soloists include cellist Anastasia Kobekina; violinist Pekka Kuusisto; pianist Katia Labèque; harpist Lavinia Meijer; violist Nadia Sirota; percussionist Colin Currie; and Bryce Dessner himself on guitar. Accompanying today’s announcement and album pre-order is the first single from Solos – “Lullaby for Jacques et Brune” – a lullaby for piano, written by Bryce Dessner for his godchildren. 

Says Dessner of these pieces: Writing a solo piece for me is always a great challenge and joy, as you have all the personality and talent of the player plus the physicality and resonance of the solo instrument, a bit like a Shakespearean monologue. These solo pieces for violin, viola, cello, harp, percussion, guitar and piano represent many years of my compositional process. When I began composing, I mainly wrote solo pieces for myself to play and I have always loved unaccompanied instrumental music – including the solo Bach lute and cello suites and the Renaissance lute fantasies of John Dowland, which I used to play myself on the classical guitar. These pieces of mine are often written like poems, where the musical language itself dictates the form and evolution of the piece, and were often opportunities for me to explore more deeply my relationship to the instruments they were composed for. They also represent in each case close collaborative relationships and friendships I have been very lucky to develop with the incredible musicians who play them. Katia, Pekka, Anastasia, Nadia, Lavinia and Colin are all exceptional artists who brought so much of their amazing talent to these recordings.   

Dessner is a prolific classical composer, whose output has garnered him a Grammy Award and ranges from intimate chamber pieces and scaled-down works for solo instrumentalists to full orchestral scores and concertos. In addition to his role as one of eight San Francisco Symphony Collaborative Partners, Bryce Dessner is currently Creative Chair of the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and Artist-in-Residence at London’s Southbank Centre and with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra. Major new works include a Piano Concerto premièred by Alice Sara Ott and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich in January 2024 and now being performed internationally; a Concerto for Two Pianos premièred by Katia & Marielle Labèque and the London Philharmonic Orchestra; and a Violin Concerto premièred and performed internationally by Pekka Kuusisto. Dessner’s in-demand compositions have been performed by leading orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Philharmonia Orchestra of London and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.  

He has co-founded several new-music festivals, including the Cincinnati-based MusicNOW Festival in 2006, Copenhagen’s Haven Festival and the Cork-based Sounds from a Safe Harbour. Bryce Dessner’s musical career has been rich and eclectic. Born into a musical family based in Cincinnati, he started out learning the flute as a child before switching to classical guitar in his teenage years, graduating from Yale University with a Masters in Music before finding fame as a founder member, guitarist, arranger and writer for alternative rock band The National.  

Alongside his classical compositions, Dessner is also much sought after as a film composer, with recent and upcoming releases including the film Sing Sing starring Colman Domingo (due for release by A24 in summer 2024), limited series Manhunt (released in March 2024 on Apple TV), and John Crowley’s We Live in Time (due for release 2024 on A24). Over the years he has garnered great acclaim for his work on films such as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant with the late Ryuichi Sakamoto and for his music to Netflix’s Fernando Meirelles’s The Two Popes. Dessner’s many musical collaborations include working with Philip Glass, Johnny Greenwood, Bon Iver, Steve Reich, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Sufjan Stevens, Taylor Swift and Thom Yorke. 

Extraordinarily gifted, collaborative, secure in his own musical language and brimming with ideas, Bryce Dessner is a singular talent whose addition to the roster is warmly welcomed as he expands the repertoire with his new music, bringing with him his trademark original deep thinking, enthusiasm for all types of music and forward-thinking creative partnerships. 

On this new arrangement with Sony Music, Bryce Dessner commented: “I am very much looking forward to an ongoing collaboration with Sony Music Masterworks and their wonderful team on several upcoming projects around my compositional work.” 

Per Hauber, President, Sony Classical added: “As Bryce Dessner embarks on this exciting new chapter with Sony Classical, we look forward to showcasing his extraordinary talent and pushing boundaries of classical music together. We believe Sony Music Masterworks is the ideal new home for his releases and we warmly welcome him!” 

Alexander Buhr, SVP International A&R adds: “Bryce is a uniquely gifted composer and musician, and a very important voice in contemporary music. With his broad range of influences and inspirations he crafts music that is daring and ambitious, while making instant emotional connection with the audience. All this is introduced perfectly on Solos. We are very happy to welcome Bryce to the Sony family.”

Bryce Dessner’s music is published and available from by Chester Music Part of the Wise Music Group.