Darkness Visible: Bryce Dessner and Matthew Ritchie

January 29, 2009, 8:00PM

MIT Broad Institute Auditorium
7 Cambridge Center
Cambridge, MA 02142

January 28, 7PM
Lecture/Performance featuring Bryce Dessner and Matthew Ritchie

January 29, 8PM
Boston-area Premiere of Dessner and Rithie’s Raphael, a multi-media work

Composer/guitarist Bryce Dessner, lead guitarist in The National and The Clogs, and acclaimed visual artist Matthew Ritchie join forces at MIT’s Broad Institute on January 28 & 29 for two events that blur the lines between indie rock, ambient music, contemporary classical music, and installation art. They will be joined by sound designer David Sheppard, guitarist Aaron Dessner, composer/clarinetist Evan Ziporyn, and student musicians from MIT and Wellesley College. Both events, free and open to the public, will be held at the Broad Institute Auditorium, 7 Cambridge Center, at the corner of Ames and Main Street.

On January 28, at 7 PM, Dessner & Ritchie will present Darkness Visible, a lecture/performance concerning their recent collaboration, The Morning Line. This massive installation, an outdoor sculpture laced with 58 hidden sound speakers, was the sensation of the 2008 Seville Biennale; it goes on display at London’s Southbank Center in June 2009. Ritchie describes the piece as “an anti-pavilion, not an enclosure, but an opening of space, a conversion of place into language.”  For the Seville Biennale, Dessner, Sheppard and Ziporyn created Propolis, a 25-minute spatial work for live and pre-recorded bass clarinet and real-time sound processing. On January 28, Darkness Visible will include a live performance of Propolis, slides and footage of Morning Line, and a chance to interact with the artists in extended dialogue and question-and-answer period. More information on “The Morning Line” can be found at: http://www.matthewritchie.com/morningline.php

A concert of Dessner’s music will take place the following evening, January 29, at 8 pm. This will include the Boston-area premiere of Dessner & Ritchie’s Raphael, a multi-media work featuring video by Ritchie, and live music performed by fellow National guitarist Aaron Dessner and a chamber orchestra of MIT & Wellesley students, performing on electric guitars and amplified strings. The concert will also include Dessner’s Blind Willy for electric guitar and string quartet, as well as duos by the Dessner brothers and live sound processing by David Sheppard.

Bryce Dessner, primarily known for his work in indie rock, is a classically trained guitarist and composer whose work has been featured in film, installation art, and new music venues including the Kitchen and the New York Guitar Festival. An avid promoter of boundary-crossing musical innovation, he is founder and artistic director of Cincinnati’s Music Now Festival, where he has brought together such diverse artists as Sufjan Stevens, Dirty Projectors, the Bang on a Can All-stars, Benjamin Verdery and Grizzly Bear. As co-founder of Brassland Records, he has provided a haven for such artists as Doveman, Nico Muhly, and Erik Friedlander. Equally at home in concert halls and rock clubs, equally adept at performing complex musical scores and rocking out, he represents the new breed of American musician in the 21st century.

Matthew Ritchie exploded onto the art scene at the 1997 Whitney Biennial: the Boston Globe describes his work as ‘mind-bending.” His work has been featured at the Houston Contemporary and MassMOCA, and his Games of Chance and Skill, commissioned by MIT’s Percent-for-Art program, is a permanent work at MIT’s Zesiger Center. Evan Ziporyn is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-stars and Artistic Director of Gamelan Galak Tika. He is Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT.

For more information, please write (email hidden; JavaScript is required) or call 617-452-2302. 


  • MIT Music and Theater Arts