He is a composer and trombonist who creates music for improvisers and explores the artistic potential of technologies including live electronics, telepresence, and networked scoring. He is a faculty member at the University of California, Irvine, where he co-founded a new doctoral program in Integrated Composition, Improvisation, and Technology (ICIT). Working with his own trio and many collective projects, Dessen has focused on creating works for improvisers, including networked "Scorescream" that are dynamically displayed on screens for performers to perform. As an improviser, he collaborates with various bands as well as performing solo on digibone, an animistic world of slide trombone and live electronics. Dessen has also participated in numerous telematic concerts that link artists in distant locations through high-definition network technologies. His teachers include Yusef Lateef, George Lewis, and Anthony Davis, and he holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the University of California, San Diego.