Selected Publications & CD Releases
| BOOK | Britten and the Guitar: Critical Perspectives for Performers (Carysfort Press for Europe and ISBS Publishers for the U.S., 2017)
'Benjamin Dwyer’s Britten and the Guitar: Critical Perspectives for Performers goes on to my shortlist of great books about music and musicians…Reading this book is an enriching educational experience, yet parts of it read like a thriller. As a guitarist myself, I am particularly gratified that Dwyer has ennobled our instrument by this captivating study.' Eliot Fisk
| CD | what is the word | Benjamin Dwyer
(Diatribe Records, 2020)
what is the word features three compositions by Benjamin Dwyer inspired by Samuel Beckett. It includes six residua (after Beckett) for solo violin, five disjecta (after Beckett) for solo guitar and what is the word (triptych with interludes) for violin, double bass, guitar and narrator. The CD features Barry Guy (double bass), Maya Homburger (violin), Benjamin Dwyer (guitar / prepared guitar) and Conor Lovett (actor | Theatre Gare St Lazare).
'what is the word is an intensely dramatic and moving half-hour piece that impresses the listener with its consummate combination of ambition and accomplishment' (Mark Fitzgerald, Journal of Music)
| BOOK | Different Voices: Irish Music and Music in Ireland (Wolke Verlag, 2014)
In Different Voices, Benjamin Dwyer offers an important postcolonial assessment of the development of music in Ireland since 1700 underscoring themes of identity, colonialism, nationalism and neoliberalism. The book also includes twelve fascinating interviews with living Irish and Ireland-based composers.
See also the Different Voices, website hosted by the Contemporary Music Centre of Ireland.
| CD/DVD/ESSAY | KnowingUnknowing
(Farpoint Recordings, 2019)
Benjamin Dwyer performs guitar music by contemporary Irish composers Paul Hayes, Benjamin Dwyer, Peter Moran, Judith RIng and David Fennessy. It also features a DVD of the work KnowingUnknowing,
an improvised work for dancer, guitar and camera featuring Dwyer, dancer Helen Kindred and filmmaker Pete Gomes. The package also contains three essays by Dwyer, Gomes and Kindred.
(Carysfort Press, 2011)
'Benjamin Dwyer provides a long overdue assessment of one of Ireland's most prolific composers of the last decades.'
University College, Dublin
| CDs | ODES AND MEDITATIONS FOR CECIL TAYLOR and INTENSEGRITY: The Blue Shroud Band - Small Formations (Nottwo Records, 2019)
Benjamin Dwyer is the guitarist with the Blue Shroud Band. Intensegrity was recorded live at the Alchemia Club during the 11th Krakow Jazz Autumn 2016. Dwyer plays improvised solos and sessions with Lucas Niggli, Fanny Paccoud, Michel Goddard and Michael Niesemann. The recording also features Barry Guy, Savina Yannatou, Torben Snekkestad, Per Texas Johansson, Agusti Fernandez, Julius Gabriel, Ramon Lopez and Maya Homburger.
| BOOK CHAPTER | "Transformational Ostinati in György Ligeti's Sonatas for Solo Cello and Solo Viola" in György Ligeti: Of Strange Sounds and Foreign Lands (Boydell & Brewer, 2011)
Barry Guy (double bass), Maya Homburger (Baroque violin), David Adams (harpsichord)
'[Benjamin Dwyer's Umbilical] takes the form of a fearless compositional assault on both the [Oedipus] myth and the listener. The music veers wildly in style as it reaches for an ecstatic identification with Jocasta...the amplification of the instrumentalists pulls the listener more intimately into the performance space…The performance by Maya Homburger, Barry Guy and David Adams is one of outstanding virtuosity and demonstrates total commitment to every gesture. Indeed it is hard to imagine a better performance of this work.'
| BOOK & RECORDING | Imagines (New Dublin Press, 2015)
Limited edition hardback book published by New Dublin Press featuring score by Benjamin Dwyer, commentary by Jonathan Creasy and an audio recording of Garth Knox performing Dwyer’s imagines obesae et aspectui ingratae (solo viola). imagines is designed by Rossi McCauley of Distinctive Repetition
Benjamin Dwyer is the guitarist with the Blue Shroud Band. Composer Barry Guy's work The Blue Shroud is an hommage to the painting Guernica by Pablo Picasso. It is for the people of the Basque town, who were victims of the Nazi German air force bombardment during the Spanish Civil War. Guy also wants us to remember the occasion in 2003, when the Guernica-tapestry at the UN Security Council was obscured by a blue drape as Colin Powell made the case for invading Iraq.
'The Blue Shroud might just be the crowning achievement in Barry Guy's long and varied career'
The New York City Jazz Record
| ESSAY | Sheela-na-gigs and an 'Aesthetics of Damage'
in Enclave Review (Issue 16, Winter/Spring 2018)
In this essay I outline the ways in which my extended research into the ancient stone carvings of female figures found in Ireland (and parts of Britain) known as Sheela-na-gigs have led to the development of a new aesthetic approach to composition commensurate with the themes of feminism, postcolonialism and remembrance that the carvings provoke.
Benjamin Dwyer is the guitarist with the Blue Shroud Band. Tensegrity was recorded live at the Alchemia Club during the 9th Krakow Jazz Autumn 2014. Dwyer plays improvised solos and a duet with trumpeter Peter Evans. The recording also features Barry Guy, Lucas Niggli, Savina Yannatou, Michel Godard, Torben Snekkestad, Per Texas Johansson, Agusti Fernandez, Julius Gabriel, Ramon Lopez, Maya Homburger, Michael Niesemenn and Fanny Paccoud.
'...one encountered a range of stunning musical voices, from the solo pieces by Homburger on baroque violin and Irish composer/classical guitarist Ben Dwyer to a remarkable group of saxophonists whose reputations are only beginning to reach beyond Europe...'
Stuart Broomer, New York City Jazz Record
in Music & Literature, Vol. 4, 2014
'Dios los cría y ellos se juntan: “God makes them and they find each other.” This is what comes to my mind whenever I think of Barry Guy and Maya Homburger...as individuals these musicians are remarkable; when they play together something even more extraordinary and unique happens. Dios los cría…'
| CD | Benjamin Dwyer: Scenes from Crow (Diatribe Records, 2014)
Composed for the VOX 21 Ensemble, Scenes from Crow (55') is for amplified mixed ensemble, live electronics and tape. It is Benjamin Dwyer's response to the Crow poems of Ted Hughes.
'Benjamin Dwyer seems to have encountered Ted Hughes’s From the Life and Songs of the Crow much as a helpless coastal dweller might have encountered one of the recent Atlantic storms: it was going to have its way with him, whether he liked it or not. Dwyer’s Scenes from Crow for amplified ensemble with soprano and tape is black and bleak, with a lot of surreal grating, grinding and scrubbing. It’s as if Dwyer, having himself shared the tortures of Hughes’s complex imaginings, wants to fix them as graphically as possible in music and pass them on to his listeners with the maximum of impact. Be warned – VOX21’s new recording may put your teeth on edge. This is not music for the faint-hearted, even with evocations of John Dowland to the fore'
The Irish Times
| ESSAY | 'Joycean Aesthetics and Mythic Imagination in the Music of Frank Corcoran'
in The Musical Times, vol. 160 no. 1948 (Autumn 2019), pp 33–48
| CD | Irish Guitar Works: Benjamin Dwyer and the Callino Quartet (Cortijo Records, 2012)
Benjamin Dwyer: Twelve Studies
John Buckley: Guitar Sonata No. 1
Benjamin Dwyer: Guitar Quintet
'Most composers are virtuosos by proxy…Dwyer understands virtuosity from the inside.'
Kevin O'Connell, composer
| REVIEW | 'Innocence & Experience: The Life and Music of James Wilson' (Mark Fitzgerald, Cork University Press, Cork, 2015).
in The Musical Times, vol. 159 no. 1943 (Summer 2018), pp 109–118
Written and performed by Benjamin Dwyer
'It's always fascinating to hear a composer in his own music, especially when he's as accomplished an instrumentalist as Dwyer, who plays with a charismatic blend of explosive panache and evocative lyricism.'
| ESSAY | 'From the Celtic to the Abstract: Shifting Perspectives in the Music of John Buckley'
in The Musical Times, vol. 151 no. 1913 (Winter 2010), pp 7–21
"Though Nielsen and Dwyer come from seemingly different directions, the music that has resulted from the happy collision seems as pure and natural as the air. The name says it all – this is not some Frankenstein monster, but a newly evolved species, fully formed and beautiful."
Cormac Larkin, Jazz Critic, The Irish Times
| REVIEW | '"O master of secret configurations": Reflections on the Adorno/Berg Correspondence'
in The Musical Times, vol. 148 no. 1899 (Summer 2007), pp 89–102
| CD | In the Ranelagh Gardens: Macdara Woods and Benjamin Dwyer (Gamelan Records, 2006; poems published in Artichoke Wine, Dedalus Press, 2006).
'As a body of work, they are sublime...The snapshots from the park and the outside street, are vignettes of life, a microcosm of modern living, at once immediately contemporary yet utterly timeless in their ageless themes.'
Sean Walsh, Rambles
| CD | Mary Dullea, Gothic: New Piano Music from Ireland (Divine Arts Records, 2014)
featuring Dwyer's Homenaje a Maurice Ohana
(Contemporary Music Centre, 2015)
featuring Dwyer's 'Eros' from Umbilical
Barry Guy (double bass), Maya Homburger (Baroque violin), David Adams (harpsichord)
featuring Al-Andalus (second and third movements)
VOX21 ensemble (2008)
William Dowdall, sliding flute (2010)
'...Benjamin Dwyer's Crow, inspired by Ted Hughes' poetry, has Dowdall as ringmaster supreme in a ritual of electronic rumble and mysterious chattering recitations.'
New Zealand Herald