The National's Bryce Dessner Teams Up with Kronos Quartet for New Album

The National's Bryce Dessner Teams Up with Kronos Quartet for New Album
In addition to playing guitar for the National, busy Brooklynite Bryce Dessner plays in Clogs, has collaborated with Sufjan Stevens, curated festivals, and co-produced the star-studded 2009 compilation Dark Was the Night. Now, the multifaceted indie rocker has announced his latest project: an album with long-running chamber outfit Kronos Quartet. Aheym is out on November 5 through Anti-.

The title of Aheym refers to the Yiddish word for "homeward." The project dates back to 2009, when Kronos asked Dessner to compose a piece for their appearance at the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival. The resulting piece was inspired by Dessner's grandparents. A 2010 live performance of "Ayhem" is embedded at the bottom of this page.

"Aheym" is one of four tracks included here. As for the other cuts, a press release notes that "Little Blue Something" was influenced by Czech viola da gamba players Irena and Vojtěch Havel, "Tour Eiffel" is based on a poem by Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro, and "Tenebre" is dedicated to Kronos Quartet's longtime lightning designer Laurence Neff. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus also make an appearance.

The announcement calls this Dessner's "recorded debut as composer," although he's contributed orchestration to various albums including ones by the National.

Kronos Quartet are currently celebrating their 40th anniversary.


1. Aheym
2. Little Blue Something
3. Tenebre
4. Tour Eiffel