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All events Small-ensemble performance

Music of Today: Bryce Dessner

Purcell Room
No ticket required

Booking open to Friends only. Join now
Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 3 March 2020 at 9.30am.

Musician Bryce Dessner holding a music score in a concert hall


Robin O’Neill – conductor


Bryce Dessner The Forest for cello ensemble (UK premiere)

Bryce Dessner Lachrimae for strings (UK premiere) Listen

Venture into the haunting, graceful music of enigmatic composer and guitarist Bryce Dessner in this free performance.

Dessner’s music draws on many ideas and influences, from his song-writing as part of rock band The National to his work on film scores including The Revenant and The Two Popes. Tonight’s programme features two works that explore his relationship to the music of past composers.

In The Forest, Dessner reflects on and renews the poignant harmonies of early polyphonic music from the Medieval era, inspired by 12th-century French composer Pérotin. Using the rich resonance of eight cellos, the piece layers the harmony with pulsing beats across the ensemble, balanced against moments of intense stillness, until eventually the music gradually fades away.

Equally inspired by past styles, Dessner wrote that in Lachrimae he was influenced both by John Dowland’s piece of the same name and by Bartók’s Divertimento for strings, with Dessner’s music growing out of ethereal harmonics that burst into life through powerful rhythms flying across the stage.

Need to know

Prices & Discounts

FREE, ticket required

Running time

45 minutes, there is no interval

Recommended age



You can take drinks from the bar into this evening’s performance

Box office

Philharmonia Box Office: 0800 652 6717


The lobby of the Purcell Room at Southbank Centre, audience queuing at hall entrance

Purcell Room

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road

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After the concert

Conductor Ha-Na Chang sitting on a chair wearing a leather jacket and holding her baton

Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5

Han-Na Chang – conductor
Daniel Lozakovich – violin

  • Sofia Gubaidulina Fairytale Poem
  • Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto
  • Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5
Royal Festival Hall

Booking open to Friends only. Join now
Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday 3 March 2020 at 9.30am.

No ticket required