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'Composer Conversation Series' features Bryce Dessner & Richard Reed Parry

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The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (SPCO), Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), American Composers Forum (ACF) and Minnesota Opera are pleased to announce the third season of the Composer Conversation Series, events of which will take place at Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown Saint Paul (6th & Wabasha) February 2015 through May 2015. A co-presentation of the SPCO, MPR, ACF and Minnesota Opera, the Composer Conversation Series is intended for music lovers of all stripes. The series is hosted by Classical MPR's Emily Reese and features some of today's most original, prominent and prestigious voices in composition discussing their worldviews, artistic perspectives and how their life experiences have shaped them into the artists they are today. The 2014-15 season includes live interviews with distinctive creators Kevin Puts, Bryce Dessner (with special guests Caroline Shaw and Richard Reed Parry), Fred Lerdahl and Missy Mazzoli.Each event has a portion devoted to interview-style discussion, with brief musical selections, followed by audience Q&A. The 'Composer Conversation Series' features Crossover Media artists: Bryce Dessner & Richard Reed Parry.

Bryce Dessner - Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 7:00pm: Cross-genre musical powerhouse Bryce Dessner fuses his rock sensibilities with a ferociously ambitious approach to orchestral composition to create riveting musical experiences. 2014 marks the release of St. Carolyn by the Sea. The album is Dessner's first recording with legendary record label Deutsche Grammophon and is celebrated as "a modern classic" by PopMatters. Dessner, also the guitarist of Grammy-nominated band The National, will share how his compositional approach yields what NPR describes as "gorgeous full-hearted music" through his own dedication to pushing musical boundaries.

"Those old genre definitions don't mean as much anymore... [Classical music is] definitely a living culture with lots of exciting musicians doing new programming and composers writing new work...and there's crossover in really interesting ways."
- Bryce Dessner

Richard Reed Parry (special guest of Bryce Dessner) - Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 7:00pm: Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry is quite literally bringing a new pulse to contemporary classical music. Parry's 2014 Deustche Grammophon release, Music for Heart and Breath, features compositions performed in sync with the heartbeats and breaths of its performers. Parry's first recorded foray into the world of contemporary classical music has been described as a "primordial balm" (NME) for the genre and garnered praise for its "palpable aliveness" (Pitchfork). Collaborator Nico Muhly celebrates the genius of Parry's innovative new works, explaining "it's music based on a system that can produce a huge range of problems and beautiful solutions." Parry deftly navigates the challenges of such a novel approach to create music that is uniquely natural, immediate and, most importantly, human.

"My vision for [Music for Heart and Breath] was to free the music of certain confines and to bring really fragile and deeply human characteristics out of the music through using this technique. I wanted it to be satisfying and tell a story, or describe a state, with some kind of emotional arc to it, even if it's an abstract one." - Richard Reed Parry