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Happy 80th birthday to Gavin Bryars

© M Nicolaou

Schott Music wishes composer Gavin Bryars a very happy 80th birthday!  We are immensely proud of our many years working with Gavin and look forward to celebrating this milestone anniversary with a number of events including a new harpsichord concerto for Mahan Esfahani in March with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and a portrait concert at King's Place in November which will coincide with the release of a new book by David Wordsworth, published by Kahn & Averill.

Yorkshire born, Gavin Bryars is known internationally as both a composer and jazz bassist. His musical style has encompassed many influences over the years beginning with his work as a jazz and free improvisation pioneer, to his time assisting John Cage in the US in the late 1960s. Bryars' early works such as Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet and The Sinking of the Titanic, famous for their use of pre-recorded tapes, are well known outside of the classical world and can be heard alongside his prolific output of operas, orchestral, chamber and in particular choral works.

Bryars has had the privilege of working with many renowned artists including successful collaborations with choreographers such as Merce Cunningham, Caroline Carlson, and William Forsythe; artists such as Juan Muñoz and Massimo Bartolini, and writers such as Etel Adnan. Additionally, his own group, The Gavin Bryars Ensemble, performs internationally showcasing programmes built around his own compositions


"The music of Gavin Bryars falls under no category. It is mongrel, full of sensuality and wit and is deeply moving. 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


In celebration of his birthday, a world premiere of Bryars’ new Harpsichord Concerto will be presented by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with soloist Mahan Esfahani and conductor Andrew Manze on March 23rd. Jointly commissioned by the RLPO and Orchestre National de Lyon, the French premiere will take place in 2024.

In addition, on February 11th and 12th, Mikk Üleoja directs both the Estonian National Men's Choir and Pärnu City Orchestra for two performances of Bryars' double bass concerto, Farewell to St Petersburg, featuring London-based Estonian soloist Siret Lust as a celebration of 'Gavin Bryars at 80'.

Gavin Bryars will also perform himself alongside The Gavin Bryars Ensemble as they return to Cafe OTO for two performances on May 15th and 16th. One of Gavin's favourite venues, his ensemble will showcase two different programs involving Lauda col legno I, II, and III for bass clarinet and a UK premiere of Gnossienne 1 and 4 after Satie for two pianos and electric guitar.