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 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 four full-length operas, working with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, Mainz Opera, Long Beach Opera and the Opera de Paris, alongside such renowned directors as Robert Wilson, Georges Delnon and Jean Lacorrnerie. Hi has worked with Opera North Projects and the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2006, and his collaboration with Merce Cunningham, Biped, toured worldwide with the Cunningham Company.
Elsewhere in Gavin's extensive catalogue of works can be found vocal works written for The Hilliard Ensemble, and commissions for Bournemouth Sinfonietta, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Primavera Chamber 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, a 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 will take Gavin's work as a starting point to examine compositional forms and strategies, working closely with the group's existing practice and methods, with the aim of each student developing a finished work for performance at the end of the session. Students from all musical backgrounds are welcome, whether classically trained, improvisors, sound artists, installation artists, conceptual artists or favouring any other approach. The session 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 others; evening events showing Gavin's work in opera and film; and 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 outdoors activities led by 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 releasing opportunities via Fuse Art Space and our range of in-house record labels."