Contemporary Classical, Experimental, Ambient, Avant-garde
ECM Records, Suoni Possibili Records
Bryars’ first major composition, The Sinking of the Titanic, appeared on Brian Eno's Obscure Records in 1975 and alongside his seminal work Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, which featured the looped vocals of a homeless man singing an unknown hymn, established his reputation worldwide as a prominent figure in minimalist and experimental music. Both pieces have evolved and expanded over time, being performed with artists from across the musical spectrum, from Aphex Twin and experimental turntablist Philip Jeck, to the London Philharmonic and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The famous 1990 version of Jesus’ Blood, which featured singer Tom Waits, was also nominated for The Mercury Music Prize.
Bryars’ list of works is extensive, including numerous operas - Dr Ox’s Experiment for English National Opera, Medea for Opéra de Lyon, The Collected Works of Billy The Kid with Michael Ondaatje and Marilyn Forever with librettist Marilyn Bowering, a chamber opera on the life of Marilyn Monroe – as well as numerous vocal works, concertos and many ballets including the famous Merce Cunningham piece Biped, which formed part of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s legacy tour and was revived in 2018 and in 2019 to mark the centenary of Merce’s birth. His work with Philadelphia based choir The Crossing recently included a Grammy win for The Fifth Century for Best Choral Performance and led to his latest large scale vocal work A Native Hill, for which both the choir and Bryars received rave reviews.
"The music of Gavin Bryars falls under no category. It is mongrel, full of sensuality and wit and is deeply moving. He is one of the few composers who can put slapstick and primal emotion alongside each other. He allows you to witness new wonders in the sounds around you by approaching them from a completely new angle.” - Michael Ondaatje