Hawthorne Valley Association is thrilled to announce that New York-based musician, composer, and producer Aaron Dessner has joined its Board of Trustees. “Aaron embodies a poetic combination of creativity, care, generosity, and kindness that inform his multidimensional talent. His collaborative spirit is what these times are calling for,” says Executive Director Martin Ping. “I am overflowing with gratitude and enthusiasm for the opportunity to work with Aaron and excited to have his inspiration and experience integrate with the amazing constellation of trustees that currently serve on Hawthorne Valley’s Board.”
Maybe it’s because he’s a twin, but Aaron Dessner says he feels like he was born to collaborate. “My brother Bryce and I grew up sharing a room and playing music at the same time, so it’s always been natural for me to develop ideas with other people.”
Dessner is best known for his work with Taylor Swift (including the 2020 Grammy Awards’ Album of the Year winner, “folklore” and its sister album “evermore”) and with Grammy Award-winning alternative band The National, whose albums he has co-written and co-produced since the group’s inception in 1999. He began producing outside projects almost a decade ago, developing his own distinctive sound and approach, and an ability to connect with artists from disparate genres, whether it’s Sharon Van Etten’s breakthrough album ‘Tramp’, the delicate craftsmanship of Irish artist Lisa Hannigan, or the haunting gothic blues of up-and-coming singer-songwriter Adia Victoria.
His studio, Long Pond, near Hudson, New York, has become a creative oasis for Dessner and his collaborators – a place where the beauty of the woods and the water makes it easy to get lost in the moment. “The best music happens when you aren’t overthinking or putting too much pressure on yourself,” he says. “What is most rewarding for me now is to write music and share it with other musicians, to see what strange alchemy happens when someone else adds their own voice, emotion and ideas into it. I think every idea is worth chasing, and every experiment is worthwhile. Sometimes what seems like a discardable fragment is actually the seed of a great song.”
Dessner also collaborates with Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on their collaborative project Big Red Machine, and co-founded international music festivals including the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival in Wisconsin, Boston Calling, and the National’s own Homecoming festival in Cincinnati. Along with Bryce, Vernon and a community of musicians and creatives, he launched the 37d03d (PEOPLE) collective in 2016. 37d03d produces multi-artist events and operates an independent record label, all with the goal of supporting and encouraging spontaneous collaboration.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to join the rest of the Board in supporting the community and all the important work and evolution that is ongoing or germinating at Hawthorne Valley – which has been such a warm, welcoming and inspiring home to us over the past 8 years.”
Aaron joins a stellar Board which includes: Co-Chairs Alfa Demmellash, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Rising Tide Capital, and Matt Stinchcomb, Co-founder, Partners for Climate Action of the Hudson Valley and founder of The Good Work Institute; Treasurer Kim Bucci, entrepreneur and owner and operator of Rivertown Lodge in Hudson and soon-to-be Camptown Hotel in Leeds; Danielle Do, Chief Corporate & Securities Counsel at Synchrony Financial; Herbert Dreiseitl, landscape architect, urban designer, water artist, interdisciplinary planner; and civil rights lawyer Alex Sierck. For complete Board member bios, please visit https://hawthornevalley.org/about/people/board-of-trustees.