A feature by Declan O’Driscoll
How do you compose? At a piano?
Yes and no. My compositions start their lives with reflections upon paintings, architecture and of course musical possibilities. So, before I really use the keyboard I normally accumulate various sketches that indicate (possibly) movement, energy, pitch areas and outline structures. The keyboard is used later in the process to confirm pitch relationships, note rows and other procedures that help during the composing process. If I ever wrote a piece based only upon my keyboard expertise, the composition would be destined for the trash can.
A feature by Benjamin Dwyer
British composer and double bassist Barry Guy is sui generis among modern artists. Guy is at once an ardent student of early and Baroque music and a master improviser across all musical genres, an architect and a Samuel Beckett devotee, who, by age 13, was immersed in the life of a professional musician in southeast London. Guy has served as principle bassist in virtually every major London orchestra, and his compositions for large improvisational ensembles as well as chamber and solo works have been performed internationally. Now Barry Guy speaks in an extensive, retrospective conversation with composer Benjamin Dwyer about his earliest musical impulses, jamming with Sonny Boy Williamson in the back of a liquor store, studying with legendary Greek composer Iannis Xenakis, collaborating with his wife and musical partner, the Swiss Baroque violinist Maya Homburger, and playing an instrument to the limit of one’s physical capabilities . . .