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Bryars, (Richard) Gavin

tape music coll univ

Bryars, (Richard) Gavin, significant English composer and teacher; b. Goole, Yorkshire, Jan. 16, 1943. He studied composition privately with Cyril Ramsey (1959–61) and George Linstead (1963–65) in England, and with Ben Johnston (1968) in the U.S.; also at the Univ. of Sheffield (B.A. in philosophy, 1964) and at the Northern School of Music (1964–66). After teaching at the Northampton Coll. of Technology (1966–67), the Portsmouth Coll. of Art (1969–70), and the Leicester Polytechnic (1970–85), he was prof, of music at De Montford Univ. (1985–96). In 1981 he founded his own Gavin Bryars Ensemble, with which he toured widely. Bryar’s output is generally experimental in nature. His works are indeterminate, replete with repetition, and often utilize electronics. His warmth and humor is evidenced in his The Sinking of the Titanic (1969), a multimedia, meditative collage work composed of excerpts from pieces the drowning orch. might have been playing. His poignant Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, originally composed for Ensemble and Tape (1971), became an international success in its later version for Orch. and Tape (1994), incorporating the raspy voice of Tom Waits. Bryars has also collaborated with a number of well-known musicians, including Eno, Reich, and Cardew, as well as with the preeminent American theater director, Robert Wilson.

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