The National’s Bryce Dessner announces new classical album, El Chan, and tour

Including a seven-part piece for two pianos dedicated to director Alejandro González Iñárritu

Bryce Dessner el chan album announcement classical concerto
Bryce Dessner, photo by Peter Hundert

    Bryce Dessner of The National has announced a new album of classical compositions. Entitled El Chan and recorded with sister pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque, the record is due out April 5th via Deutsch Grammophon.

    The collection comprises three pieces, each recorded with the Labèque siblings on their keys. First is the three-movement Concerto for Two Pianos, which also features Orchestra de Paris and Matthias Pintscher. Dessner and the Labèques have performed the composition around the world and are set to give it its US debut this September (specific dates are forthcoming).

    The seven-part El Chan closes the collection and is dedicated to Dessner’s friend, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose film The Revenant was scored by Dessner. Its title comes from a mythical spirit that inhabits a pool of water near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the hometown of Iñarritu and his wife, Maria Eladia Hagerman. Iñarritu also designed the El Chan cover artwork.


    In between these longer works is Haven, which sees David Chalmin performing alongside Dessner and the Labèque sisters. The quartet will give the piece its live debut this April, touring Europe as Minimalist Dream House. Radiohead’s Thom Yorke will join the tour as a special guest, premiering his own new work with the Labèques.

    Take a look at videos for Concerto for Two Pianos and Haven below, followed by the album artwork and tracklist.

    Concerto for Two Pianos:

    Minimalist Dream House quartet performing Haven:

    El Chan Artwork:

    Bryce Dessner classical album labéque El chan album cover artowrk

    El Chan Tracklist:
    Concerto for Two Pianos
    01. First Movement
    02. Second Movement
    03. Third Movement


    04. Haven

    El Chan
    05. El Charco del Ingenio
    06. Points of Light
    07. Four Winds
    08. Ballade d’Allende
    09. Coyote
    10. Pool of El Chan
    11. Mountain

    Dessner’s classical tour dates include performances of El ChanHaven, Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)and more. Find his schedule below.

    Bryce Dessner 2019 Tour Dates:
    03/15 – Ann Arbor, MI @ University of Michigan *
    03/16 – London, UK @ Southbank Centre #
    03/22 – Knoxville, TN @ Big Ears Festival *
    04/06 – Washington, DC @ Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts *
    04/07 – Paris, FR @ Philharmonie de Paris ^ (with Thom Yorke)
    04/08 – Lyon, FR @ Auditorium de Lyon ^ (with Thom Yorke)
    04/09 – London, UK @ Barbican ^ (with Thom Yorke)
    04/10 – Hamburg, DE @ Elbphilharmonie ^ (with Thom Yorke)
    04/10 – Hamburg, DE @ Elbphilharmonie %
    04/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Alex Theatre &
    04/28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Royce Hall &
    05/11 – Rotterdam, NL @ De Doelen Festival !
    05/31 – Maastricht, NL @ Theater at the Vrijthof $
    06/01 – Eindhoven, NL @ Muziekgebouq $
    06/02 – Aachen, DE @ Eurogress $
    06/06 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Academy of Music *
    06/07 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Academy of Music *
    06/08 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Academy of Music *
    06/19 – Perth, AU @ Perth Concert Hall +
    06/22 – Toronto, ON @ Luminato *
    11/14 – New York, NY @ David Geffen Hall ?
    11/15 – New York, NY @ David Geffen Hall ?
    11/16- New York, NY @ David Geffen Hall ?


    * = Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)
    # = Rafael
    ^ = Minimalist Dream House performing Haven
    % = Minimalist Dream House performing El Chan
    & = Voy À Dormir
    ! =
    Quintet for High Strings for Guitar and String Quartet
    $ = Concerto for Two Pianos
    + = Réponse Lutosławski
    ? = Wires

    In related news, The National are set to release their new album, I Am Easy to Find, on May 17th. They have a hefty tour lined up supporting the record, including a select run of intimate shows in April and dates with Courtney Barnett and Alvvays. Get tickets to all of their upcoming dates here.