In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Robert Bryce.
Please tell us about yourself and what you do.
I am a Ōtautahi/Christchurch based composer currently enrolled in post-graduate studies in composition at the University of Canterbury under the guidance of Dr. Reuben de Lautour and Prof. Mark Menzies. When not studying and composing I am also a day-relief teacher at Burnside High School.
An important aspect of my newer works is that I have, from my teaching studies, discovered and connected with my Gaelic heritage. By starting to learn the languages (both Gaeilge and Gàidhlig) and embracing them into my works and everyday life, there has been a major shift in my writing style. This, of course, is a slow process that keeps bringing new rewards with every day as both my music and language abilities mature.
Stylistically, at the moment, I am focused generally around producing works that balance between simplicity and elegance. Reducing and presenting ideas in minimal yet powerful ways. However, in saying this, I still enjoy writing challenging pieces. The majority of my works that I write are for chamber music and live electronics which I perform and is the center of my research. I do this to be a part of my music and engage with the fantastic people around me.
Please choose 2-3 of your works and tell us about them.
The first piece I would like to mention is one of my newer works but the first work to take an Irish title. Scáthán, which translates as a mirror, is a string quartet in four movements that focuses on the different aspects of reflection, casting shadows and creates a meditative experience. This is the style of writing that I am currently focusing on.
The second piece that shows a different side to my writing is a piece called Es tut mir Leid. This is a work for solo viola and live electronics which I perform in. The piece was originally debuted by Mark Menzies and was written for an ex-mentor as an apology for a falling out. The piece focuses heavily around the feeling of regret, sorrow, and frustration around the circumstances and events of that time.
The third piece that I would like to mention is the piece Shifting Ground that I wrote for Justin DeHart for crotales, piccolo timpani, and vibraphone. This piece places five crotales on a timpani that is pedaled to create a surreal world of sound that pushes the performers’ concentration between multiple actions.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am working on my portfolio for my studies. My piece Scáthán is being performed and recorded at the New Music Central series in the UC Arts Centre on the 12th of August 2019. A video will also be uploaded at a future date.
How can people connect with you?
SOUNZ blog is designed for expressive discussion and debate amongst the arts and broader community. This is intended to be a safe space so please remember to keep comments respectful and avoid personal attacks, criticisms of specific organisations and defamatory language. Comments are moderated to ensure that they comply with SOUNZ’s Community guidelines.