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Benjamin Dwyer is a world renowned classical guitarist, composer, educator, researcher, and improvising musician. While he excels in each of these specific disciplines, it is in the dynamic and interanimating combination of them that defines his philosophy as an artist-educator. He is also deeply committed to cross-disciplinarity and brings his creative musical energies into innovative collaborations with dance, film, theatre, literature and education. At the core of his philosophy is the belief that challenges, be they socio-cultural, educational, or political, can no longer be solved by any single approach or method.

Dwyer is an elected member of Aosdána (the Irish Government-sponsored Affiliation of Creative Artists), an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, London (ARAM), and a recipient of the Villa-Lobos Centenary Medal (Brazilian Government). For eleven years he was Professor of Music at Middlesex University, London.


As a classical guitarist, Dwyer has performed with all the major Irish orchestras, and with the Neubrandenburg Philharmonic, the Santos Symphony Orchestra, the VOX21 new-music ensemble, and the Callino and Vogler String Quartets. While his repertory includes all the major composers for his instrument, Dwyer has distinguished himself as a leading exponent of 20th- and 21st-century music with a particular emphasis on new Irish works.

Dwyer's compositions are performed worldwide by leading orchestras, ensembles and soloists such as the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Goiánia Philharmonic Orchestra (Brazil), the Orchestra of Experimental Repertory (São Paulo), the Fidelio Trio, violist Garth Knox, bassist Barry Guy and violinist Maya Homburger. His music has been released on Farpoint Recordings, Diatribe Records, and the Nottwo and Intakt labels.


Since publishing his first monograph on Irish composer John Buckley (Dwyer, 2011), Dwyer has been strongly committed to research. His further four book publications, book chapter and numerous journal articles focus on a broad range of research areas including Irish Art Music from the 18th century to the present, Irish modernisms in music, the music of Benjamin Britten and György Ligeti, and the burgeoning arena of free improvised music, particularly in relation to the interanimation between notation and free improvisation, new methods of performance practice (including extended and ‘prepared’ techniques) and the impact improvisation has on human consciousness with its attendant foci on creativity, communication, knowledge-creation and ethics. In 2021, Dwyer founded the New Pathways in Improvisation@MDX: a practice-as-research, cross-disciplinary platform incorporating research and live performances in music, dance, theatre, film, and sonic and fine arts. 

Dwyer’s interest in free improvisation as a research subject emerges out of his practice as a free improviser over the past fifteen years since he collaborated with the leading Irish guitarist Mike Nielsen. He went on to be founder-member of two cross-disciplinary artistic research groups in London: TIN (Transdisciplinary Improvisation Network) and Coterminous—a cross-disciplinary collective incorporating music, film, dance and philosophy. As an improvisor, Dwyer has worked with leading exponents in the field including Peter Evans, Paul Lytton, Garth Knox, Agustí Fernandez and Charlotte Hug among others. For ten years, he has been a member of Barry Guy’s Blue Shroud Band: one of the world’s leading free improvisation ensembles. Working with the Band has had a deep impact on Dwyer’s performance and compositional practices, which has resulted in a body of new works that have emerged out of a combinatoire of these practices alongside a deep commitment to research as part of the creative process. These include KnowingUnknowing for improvised music, film and dance; and what is the word—a setting of Beckett texts for small ensemble (Dwyer, Guy and Homburger) and narrator (Conor Lovett, Gare St Lazare Ireland).

As an educator, Dwyer's extensive work in the various disciples discussed above gives him the combined skills to create teaching environments that are fluid and responsive to the broad needs of students and researchers today. Practice-as-research is a core element of his artistic work and teaching, as is research-led practice. His philosophy as an educator is grounded in the belief that the inter-relationships of disciplines and cultures are essential to understanding human relations. 


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