Middlesex University has expanded its music expertise after prolific composer, virtuoso guitarist and innovative researcher Dr Benjamin Dwyer joined as Professor of Music.
Dr Dwyer, whose work combines composing, performing and writing has had his music featured at concerts in South America, Europe and the USA.
The musician’s next high profile performance takes place on 6 December when the National Concert Hall in Dublin showcases a major retrospective of his music including the world premiere of his new work ‘Strange Country’.
Strange Country is about sheela-na-gigs – stone carvings of enigmatic female figures that prominently expose the vulva and which are surprisingly found on medieval churches, castles and town walls in Ireland and parts of Britain.
He said: “My compositions explore the role of ritual and symbol—things we don’t think much about these days. In this world largely dictated by fast technology, consumer economics and conflict, I want my music to remind people of what it is to be human.”
Other works by Dwyer at the Dublin concert include Crow, based on the Crow poems of Ted Hughes and his highly eroticised Four Japanese Prints.
Dwyer's most recent CD, Irish Guitar Works, was released earlier this year. His writing on music draws upon his twenty-year directorship of Ireland’s leading contemporary music series—MUSIC21, and his perspective as an arts practitioner in performance and composition—he’s currently writing a book on the guitar works of Benjamin Britten.
Dwyer is an elected member of Aosdána, the prestigious affiliation of creative artists established by the Arts Council of Ireland to honour those artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts.
In early 2013, Dwyer will be giving his inaugural professorial lecture at Middlesex University alongside a concert featuring his major work—Umbilical—a re-working of the Oedipus myth, which will be performed by renowned musicians Maya Homburger, Barry Guy and David Adams.
Photo by Brian Kavanagh