Bryce Dessner’s Triptych (Eyes of One on Another)

Composer Bryce Dessner explores the formative impact of Robert Mapplethorpe’s work in this coming-together of music and photography.

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This production contains extreme sexually explicit images from the Robert Mapplethorpe collection that may be inappropriate for attendees under 18. Discretion is advised.

About This Performance


This production contains extreme sexually explicit images from the Robert Mapplethorpe collection that may be inappropriate for attendees under 18. Discretion is advised.

Thirty years after the death of Robert Mapplethorpe, we still cannot turn away from what his photos reveal. Composer Bryce Dessner, Librettist Korde Arrington Tuttle, and director Kaneza Schaal in collaboration with Roomful of Teeth and a musical ensemble of 12 players explore the ways Mapplethorpe’s works compel an audience’s complicity and characterizes them in the act of attention. As a young man growing up in Cincinnati, Dessner’s own exposure to the protests surrounding this galvanizing artist rooted a lifelong kinship to his pivotal body of work. Mapplethorpe’s pictures both unite and divide viewers, provoking a consideration of perceived opposites–their literal as well emotional and cultural meanings – Black/White, Male/Female, Gay/Straight, Art/Porn, Classical/Contemporary. His pictures seduce, shock, offend, excite, intrigue and scare us all at once.  Single images take our breath away through the classic capture of everyday acts of nature and the beauty of their composition. On the other hand, a single image has the power to reveal our fears and our desires and the razor-thin line between the two. We confront this work privately, flipping through coffee table books or seeing the work in a museum gallery. But in Triptych (Eyes of One on Another), Dessner, Tuttle & Schaal ask an audience to experience these reactions collectively. Through music, projection of Mapplethorpe’s images, and the poetry of Tuttle, Essex Hemphill and Patti Smith, the work puts the audience inside the artist’s view finder, inside his beautiful, bold, voracious view of how nature and humans look, touch, feel, hurt and love one another.

Co-produced by Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel Music and Artistic Director. Produced in Residency with and Commissioned by University Musical Society, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. TRIPTYCH was co-commissioned by BAM; Luminato Festival, Toronto, Canada; Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece; Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati, OH; Cal Performances, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; Stanford Live, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; Adelaide Festival, Australia; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for performance as part of DirectCurrent 2019; ArtsEmerson: World on Stage, Emerson College, Boston, MA; Texas Performing Arts, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX; Holland Festival, Amsterdam; Barbican Centre, London; Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; and Celebrity Series, Boston, MA. Residency development through MassMOCA, North Adams, MA.

Photo credits:
Alistair Butler, 1980 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
Bryce Dressner photo by Shervin Lainez
Korde Arrington Tuttle photo courtesy of the artist
Roomful of Teeth photo by Bonica Ayala

Produced in cooperation with The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

Enhance Your Experience
Upbeat Live, Derrick Spiva Jr. – 7pm
Before the concert, some of the sharpest musical minds around – including members of the LA Phil – guide you through the evening’s music, complete with a Q&A session for any lingering questions. This free event is held in BP Hall, accessible after your ticket is scanned.

Programs, artists, dates, prices and availability subject to change.