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 . . .