David Braid

Archtop Guitar

David Braid was born in Wrexham and grew up in Colwyn Bay on the North Wales coast. His earliest introduction to music was through piano lessons with his mother when around eight years old, later taking violin and guitar lessons.

He was involved in various musical activities during his early teens ranging from playing in rock/indie bands to the fiddle in the school band for Welsh folk dancers, before focusing primarily on classical guitar and starting to compose in his later teens.

David studied at The Royal College of Music from 1990-94, taking joint-first study in Guitar with Charles Ramirez and Composition with Edwin Roxburgh; also attending the composition classes of George Benjamin.

On finishing at the RCM, David took his studies further; first in Poland for two years, spending a year at the Cracow Academy of Music with the late Marek Stachowski plus a year of private study with Zbigneiw Bujarksi, and subsequently with Robert Saxton at The University of Oxford.

David works have been broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and performed in the US, Germany, Poland, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, South America. Major UK performances have taken place at Wigmore Hall and The Purcell Room (Southbank Centre), King’s Place, Wilton’s Music Hall, The 1901 Arts Club, et al.

The string orchestra version of his setting of Pablo Neruda’s poem Mañana, ‘Morning’ was premiered in Moscow in 2014. The original version, for soprano and string quartet received its UK premiere at the Wigmore Hall sung by Grace Davidson and features on his previous CD with Toccata Classics. ‘Morning’ was also broadcast on Australian radio in summer 2011.

Steve Reich said of this work: “‘Morning’. Integration of voice with string quartet beautifully done – particularly first entrance. Writing for instruments is solid and sounds very good to me. Very honest stuff”.

David is the recipient of numerous awards including: The John Longmire Prize for Composition (RCM); The Jack Morrison Prize for Guitar (RCM); The Fine Arts Sinfonia Composition Prize (London) and The Edinburgh University Brass Band Prize.

David’s works for brass, woodwind and percussion are published by Experianza Music, his music for Renaissance lute is published by Paris-based Le Luth Doré, and his works for guitar, violin, viola, voice and flute are published by Les Productions d’OZ, with additional flute works published by Trubcher Music.

As well as concert music, David has written film scores, most recently for Polish animation: Blask (Illumination) and the short film Compartment. He also wrote the tutorial book/CD, Play Classical Guitar that has entered three editions including a Spanish translation (Backbeat Books, 2000).

Composers that David cites as having the most effect on his work are: “Sibelius – for his incredible formal logic, expansive use of time and mastery of contrapuntal interweaving; Lutosławski – for the multi-functionality of his musical material plus near-perfect formal processes and Renaissance composers, including Palestrina, Dowland, Byrd, Tallis, et al, for their ‘horizontal’, linear thinking – a concept which transcends time and style – and is fully usable today”.

Other musical interests and influences of David’s include his love of vinyl recordings, especially older rarities, he says: “I learn so much from performers, Glenn Gould and Julian Bream for example, also earlier ones such as the English pianist Solomon, who incidentally was a friend of my great uncle in the 1950s, and of course Gipsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.

Many of these players had such an intelligent and thought-through approach to phrasing and pacing while, paradoxically, sounding spontaneous. They perhaps have had as much influence on me as any composer. There are also a highly refreshing bunch of new players around who are able to bring a very focused and informed approach to the repertoire (both and old and new) in a wholly new way – this is extremely encouraging”.

David recently founded The Braid Ensemble – www.braidensemble.com – a group of players, some of whom feature on this disc, focused on performing his work. The ensemble was in fact inspired by the composer’s work with the artists (Emily Gray, Peter Cigleris and Rossitza Stoycheva) in making this recording.

At the time of writing (summer 2017) David is working on his 4th Symphony.