Modern Composition with Gavin Bryars

Grace Bailey

Sound and Music news
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A five-day residential workshop in the epic French Pyrenees, led by Gavin Bryars

Workshop dates: 28/06/2023 – 2023-07-03

“Not only is Gavin Bryars one of my favourite composers, but he’s now also one of my favourite human beings. Thanks for a life-changing experience.” (Sunny Lazic, participant in Gavin’s 2018, 2019 & 2022 workshops)
“This week has been such a nugget of gold. It’s a privilege to spend a whole week talking about, thinking about, and writing music with really interesting creative people. Such an inspiring week.” (Hayley Jenkins, participant in Gavin’s 2018 workshop)
Check out the report on Gavin’s 2018 session here. As the report shows, this workshop is for all types of people working with sound and music, from trained composers to self-taught producers and visual artists working with sound.
Gavin Bryars is without a doubt one of the world’s most celebrated living composers. He emerged to the musical establishment in the early sixties, playing bass with improvisers Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley – his relationship with improvisation, although of some significance, was short-lived, and by the late 60’s he was working with John Cage, Cornelius Cardew and John White. His first major works – The Sinking of the Titanic (1969), originally released on Brian Eno’s Obscure label in 1975, and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1971) – were released in new versions in the 1990s, selling over a quarter of a million copies.
Opera and ballet have formed important strands in Gavin’s practice – he has written five full-length operas, working with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Opera de Lyon, English National Opera, Mainz Opera, Long Beach Opera and the Opera de Paris, alongside such renowned directors as Robert Wilson, Atom Egoyan, Georges Delnon and Jean Lacornerie. He has worked with Opera North Projects and the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2006. He has done scores for over twenty ballets and his collaboration with Merce Cunningham, Biped, toured worldwide with the Cunningham Company and subsequently throughout France with CNDC Angers’ recreation in Merce’s centenary year 2019.
Elsewhere in Gavin’s extensive catalogue of works can be found vocal works written for The Hilliard Ensemble, Latvian Radio Choir, Trio Mediaeval, The Crossing, Iarla O’Lionaird and commissions for Bournemouth Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Primavera Chamber Orchestra Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and London Sinfonietta. His background in the visual arts has resulted in works for the opening of the Tate Gallery in Liverpool, an installation in the Chateau d’Oiron, commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, work for the Tate Gallery St Ives, and a project for the Valencia Architecture Biennale. This visual arts affinity has also led to highly successful collaborations with David Byrne, Bruce MacLean, Bill Culbert, Juan Munoz, Christian Boltanski, Will Alsop and others.
This course does not take a narrow dogmatic line, but rather will take Gavin’s work as a starting point to examine compositional forms and strategies, working closely with the group members’ existing practice and methods, and with the aim of each student developing a finished work for performance at the end of the session. Participants from all musical backgrounds are welcome, whether classically trained, improvisers, sound artists, installation artists, conceptual artists or favouring any other approach. Bring works in progress to be developed, or start on something new whether alone or collectively. Develop new projects and ideas using CAMP’s resources, or work with the extraordinary natural environment.
Sessions will include:
Individual tuition sessions, examining and developing each student’s existing work and practice group sessions examining different types of musical material, including vocal music (both solo and ensemble), string music, opera, music for dance, composing in relation to music from the past, and arranging the music of other evening events showing Gavin’s work in opera and film development of each student’s work for final performance by the group at the end of the course
The sessions will be accompanied by optional outdoor activities led by the CAMP crew, including guided mountaineering, visits to local beauty points, and downtime to hang out, relax, enjoy the local food and wine, and learn informally from Gavin, the CAMP crew, and your fellow students. Following the course, further support of the work developed will come in the form of performance and release opportunities via Fuse Art Space and our range of in-house record labels, as well as broadcast opportunities on CAMP Radio.

Info & booking:

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