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Barry Guy

Born: 1947

Nationality: British

Publisher: Novello & Co

Born in 1947, Barry Guy is an innovative double bass player and composer. His creative diversity in the fields of jazz improvisation, solo recitals, chamber and orchestral performance is the outcome of an unusually varied training and a zest for experimentation, underpinned by a dedication to the double bass and the ideal of musical communication. He is founder and Artistic Director of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra for which he has written several extended works.

Barry Guy's concerts works have been widely performed. His skilful and inventive writing has resulted in an exceptional series of compositions for strings: Flagwalk (1983), The Eye of Silence (1988), Look Up! (1990) and After the Rain (1992). 1993 saw the release of After the Rain with the City of London Sinfonia, conductor Richard Hickox, on the NMC label. Look Up! - written for eight cellos - was honoured with the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber-Scale Composition 1991-1992.

Guy frequently writes for musicians and ensembles with whom he has a close working relationship. As a result, commissions arrive from chamber orchestras, chamber groups and soloists interested in contemporary musical performance with a special commitment to communicating with the audience. Guy's works have a sense of freshness without recourse to ideological excesses or scores that baffle players to the extent that performance becomes a trial. The scores, however, are virtuosic, and as a performer himself, Guy is ideally placed to assess and exploit the possibilities of innovative sonorities using extended instrumental techniques.

In 1994, Barry Guy's Un Coup de Dés was joint prize-winner in the Hilliard Composition Prize and is featured on the recording 'A Hilliard Songbook - New Music for Voices' on ECM Records. As part of the 1995 Purcell Tercentenary Celebrations, Fretwork commissioned from Barry Guy Buzz for viol consort - a reflection on Purcell's Fantazia Upon One Note, which has been recorded for Virgin Records. His Concerto for Orchestra: 'Fallingwater' for the City of London Sinfonia was premiered in October 1996 at the Barbican Hall, London to public and critical acclaim. Choreographer Christopher Bruce used Guy's major work for string orchestra, After the Rain, for his ballet Kingdom, which was first performed in Geneva with the Ballet du grand Théâtre de Genève and the Suisse Romande Orchestra under conductor Ermanno Florio.

The world premiere of Barry Guy's Remembered Earth for violin, harpsichord, clarinet, double bass, SATB soloists and SATB choir, took place at the 1999 Tampere International Choir Festival. The performers were the Jarju Chamber Choir, Red Byrd, and conductor Heikki Limola. Barry Guy's major work for strings, 'Folio', was premiered at the 2002 Free Radiccals Festival Glasgow on October 27th 2002. This piece was commissioned by the Festival for first performance by the BT Scottish Ensemble and soloists Barry Guy (double bass), Maya Homburger (baroque violin) and Clio Gould (violin). 'Folio' is an important addition to Barry Guy's catalogue. In this piece the composer brings together the structure of fully-scored music with the freedom of expression afforded through improvisation. Recent recordings include After the Rain (NMC), Un Coup de Dés (ECM), Buzz (VC5), Celebration (ECM) and Redshift (ECM).
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