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Gavin Bryars (b1/16/1943)

“…The music of Gavin Bryars falls under no category. It is mongrel, full of sensuality and wit and is deeply moving. He is one of the few composers who can put slapstick and primal emotion alongside each other. He allows you to witness new wonders in the sounds around you by approaching them from a completely new angle. With a third ear maybe…”
— Michael Ondaatje

Gavin Bryars was born in Yorkshire in 1943. His first musical reputation was as a jazz bassist working in the early sixties with improvisers Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley. He abandoned improvisation in 1966 and worked for a time in the United States with John Cage. Subsequently he collaborated closely with composers such as Cornelius Cardew and John White. From 1969 to 1978 he taught in departments of Fine Art in Portsmouth and Leicester, and during the time that he taught at Portsmouth College of Art he was instrumental in founding the legendary Portsmouth Sinfonia. He founded the music department at Leicester Polytechnic (later De Montfort University) and was professor of music there from 1986 to 1994.

His first major work as a composer was The Sinking of the Titanic (1969) and Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet (1971), both released in new versions in the 1990s on Point Music label. The original 1970s recordings have been re-released on CD by Virgin Records.

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