Benjamin Dwyer (www.benjamindwyer.com) is a composer, guitarist and writer. Chiefly informed by continental philosophy, and postcolonial and feminist theory, Dwyer has written extensively on music exploring themes such as Irish art music, the intersections of performance and compositional practice, improvisation, the classical guitar, and music as myth and symbol. He specialises in the works of numerous Irish composers, György Ligeti, Benjamin Britten and Barry Guy among others. Book publications include Britten and the Guitar: Critical Perspectives for Performers (Carysfort Press, 2017); Different Voices: Irish Music and Music in Ireland (Wolke-Verlag, 2014); and Constellations: The Life and Music of John Buckley (Carysfort Press, 2011). Book chapters appear in New Perspectives on Ligeti (forthcoming): eds. Dwyer and Marx (Rochester University Press, 2018) and György Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds, eds. Marx and Duchesneau (Boydell & Brewer, 2011). Articles include “Theodor Adorno and Alban Berg: Correspondence: 1925–1935,” (The Musical Times, 2007); “Joycean Aesthetics, Ethnic Memory and Mythopoetic Imagination in the Music of Frank Corcoran,” (Colony, 2014); and "'Dios los cría’—Barry Guy and Maya Homburger,” (Music & Literature, 2014).
Dwyer is an elected member of Aosdána (the Irish government-sponsored academy of creative artists) and an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London (ARAM). He is currently Professor of Music at Middlesex University, London.
Benjamin Dwyer’s music is forged from an intensive amalgamation of technical, improvisatory and interpretative elements. Experienced at the intersection of performance, gesture and compositional praxis, his music is further enriched through its deep immersion in ritual and symbol. His works have been performed worldwide by renowned musicians and ensembles. As a classical guitarist, and a major exponent of contemporary music and free improvisation, Dwyer performs worldwide and has appeared as soloist with all the Irish orchestras, the Neubrandenburg Philharmonic (Germany), the Santos Symphony Orchestra (Brazil), the VOX21 new-music ensemble, the Callino Quartet (UK) and the Vogler String Quartet (Germany). He is a member of Barry Guy’s Blue Shroud Band and TIN (the UK-based Transdisciplinary Improvisation Network).
Recent compositions and performances include Umbilical, which was written for Maya Homburger, Barry Guy and David Adams, and is a nine-movement version of Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. Scenes from Crow is an amplified mixed-ensemble work inspired by Ted Hughes’s Crow sequence; both are released on Diatribe Records. Twelve Études for guitar (recorded by the composer on Gamelan Records) has been described by Fabio Zanon as the ‘summation of an entire guitar epoch’. Imagines obesae et aspectui ingratae was written for violist Garth Knox; a recording appears alongside a specially designed limited edition of the score in hard-back published by New Dublin Press. The Fidelio Trio premièred Nocturnal, after Benjamin Britten at King’s Place London in October 2015. Dwyer featured as a performer in the Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival 2014 and 2016 as a soloist and in small ensembles, as well as with the Blue Shroud Band. KnowingUnknowing, a work for improvised music and dance (with Helen Kindred), was premiered at London's InsideOut Festival in 2016. Dwyer's latest composition, Sobre los Ángeles, a song cycle for soprano and guitar on poems by Rafael Alberti, premiered at the Barrow River Festival in April 2017 with Sylvia O'Brien.