Guy, Barry

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Guy, Barry

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Barry Guy (b. 1947) is a British composer and double bass player. From 1997 to 2006, he lived in Ireland, before moving to Switzerland with his wife, Maya Homburger, a Baroque violinist.

Guy worked for Caroe and Partners Architects in London for three years while studying the double bass and taking composition classes at Goldsmith’s College in London, England. He gave up a potential career in architecture in the late 1960s to study double bass full-time with James Edward Merritt at the Guildhall School of Music in London.

Since graduating, he has performed internationally as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, performing a range of improvised, baroque, and contemporary music. Guy has collaborated with a number of other musicians and ensembles, including the City of London Sinfonia, Academy of Ancient Music, London Classical Players, Maya Homburger, Paul Lytton, and Evan Parker, to name a few, and is the founder and artistic director of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra (formed in the early-1970s) and the Barry Guy New Orchestra (formed in 2000).

Many of his compositions arise from commissions from ensembles and orchestras with whom he also has a performing relationship. His compositions often feature improvisational elements and/or extended techniques, and he has experimented with graphic notation in a number of his works, including "Nasca Lines," a graphic score commissioned by the Upstream Ensemble in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Although Guy began to discuss a commission with Jeff Reilly (artistic director of the Upstream Music Association, or UMA) circa 1996, his first appearance in Halifax was not until 1999, when he performed one of his works, "Octavia," with the Upstream Ensemble at the Open Waters Festival of New and Improvised Music. Since then, Guy has collaborated regularly with the ensemble, through performances (sometimes with Maya Homburger), workshops, and compositions. Most recently, the Upstream Ensemble performed his "Witch Gong Game" at the 2012 Open Waters Festival. The "Witch Gong Game," like "Nasca Lines," is a graphic score partially inspired by the work of Scottish artist Alan Davie.

Guy and Homburger also have a CD label, MAYA Recordings, for the production of new, improvised, and early music. He has more than 200 recordings as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician, 26 of which are under the MAYA label.


London, United Kingdom

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Upstream Music Association (1990-)

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Upstream Music Association is the associate of Guy, Barry

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The Upstream Music Association (UMA) commissioned Barry Guy to compose Nasca Lines in 2001. Guy also collaborated with UMA as a performer.

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