The BBC Concert Orchestra has named composer, arranger and jazz trumpeter Guy Barker as its new associate composer, replacing Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood. Barker will hold the post for an initial period of two years, beginning in April 2013.
Baker’s first work as the orchestra’s associate composer is That Obscure Hurt, a 70-minute suite for orchestra, 15-piece jazz ensemble, male vocalist and actress, which takes its inspiration from short story ‘The Jolly Corner’ by Henry James. A co-commission by BBC Radio 3 and Aldeburgh Music, the work will be premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival on June 12, 2013 and broadcast live on Radio 3. Barker based his work on a Henry James story in tribute to Benjamin Britten, who himself centred several works on James stories and whose centenary is celebrated this year.
‘I have worked with the BBC Concert Orchestra on a number of occasions and it has always been an extremely rewarding experience so I am delighted to accept this invitation,’ said Barker. ‘The idea of having the opportunity to write for, and to work with such a great orchestra, on a regular basis, is something that both inspires and excites me.’
Barker’s The Spirit of Django orchestral suite, co-written with guitarist Martin Taylor, was premiered at the BBC Proms in 2012. He has also arranged music for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia and for the film The Talented Mister Ripley. As a trumpeter, he has been nominated twice for the Mercury Prize for albums ‘Into the Blue’ and ‘Soundtrack’, and has performed with Sting, Sammy Davis Jr, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Clark Terry and Stan Tracey. He appears frequently as conductor of his Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra.