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 bands to fiddle playing in the school band for the 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 completion of his studies, David moved to Poland for two years, spending a year at the Cracow Academy of Music studying composition with the late Marek Stachowski and a second year of private study with Zbigneiw Bujarksi.
During his two years in Cracow he wrote a Violin Concerto and a work for chamber orchestra, ‘Cause and Reaction’ (both since withdrawn). David later undertook further composition study, 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, King’s Place, et al.
Recently, the string orchestra version of his setting of Pablo Neruda’s poem Mañana, ‘Morning’ was premiered in Moscow. The original version, for soprano and string quartet received its UK premiere at the Wigmore Hall sung by Grace Davidson and features on his new 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 and scholarships including: The John Longmire Prize for Composition, Royal College of Music; The Jack Morrison Prize for Guitar, RCM; The Composition Prize for Youth Orchestra, Murcia, Spain; The Fine Arts Sinfonia Composition Prize (London); The Waterson Scholarship, University of Oxford; the Oppenheim/Downes Memorial Scholarship; The University Graduate Scholarship, University of Oxford and SPNM Short-listed composer 2001, among others.
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 and expansive use of time; Lutosławski – for the multi-functionality of his musical material plus near-perfect formal processes and Per Nørgård – for showing how complex processes (such as his infinity series) can be used to help create genuine beauty”.
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 harpsichordist Wanda Landowska and the English pianist Solomon, who incidentally was a friend of my great uncle in the 1950s. Many of these players had such an intelligent and thought-through approach to phrasing and pacing. 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 in a wholly new way – this is extremely encouraging”.
M.Litt. (Composition), University of Oxford, St. Anne’s College.
M.Mus. (Composition), Royal College of Music, London.
Private study, Prof. Zbigniew Bujarski, Cracow, Poland (Fugue/Counterpoint).
Diploma (Composition/Conducting), Cracow Academy of Music, Poland.
Dip.RCM. (Composition/Guitar), Royal College of Music, London.
John Longmire Prize for Composition, Royal College of Music, London, 1998.
Jack Morrison Prize for Guitar, Royal College of Music, London, 1993
Fine Arts Sinfonia Composition Prize, London, 2005.
David Braid – curriculum vitae
A versatile and prolific composer of instrumental, chamber, orchestral, vocal and choral music – committed to creating works that form/reflect a new direction in music which, following historical precedent, has strong public appeal while maintaining the very highest standards of compositional craft: “The future of music is a beauty that both reflects and transcends its own time”.
Some works from 2017/16:
Three Glass Sculptures, for ensemble, Op. 60
Touch, a setting of Thom Gunn for mezzo-soprano/ensemble, Op. 59
Fugue for my friends, for ensemble, Op. 58
Continuous Song, for viola and guitar (or piano) Op. 57
Intermezzo, for brass band, Op. 51
3rd. Symphony, Op. 54
King’s Place, (Hall 1), Perpetual Pavan (Yuri Zhislin: violin/Sergei Podobedov: piano), 2015
1901 Arts Club, 2015: various duos (plus Sweelinck/Byrd arr.) (Braid/Podobedov Duo)
Wilton’s Music Hall, Symphony for Two, Op. 33 (Braid/Podobedov Duo), 2014
Tsaritsino Museum, Moscow, Russian premiere of string orchestra version of Morning, Op. 3 (Lilia Erokhina/Ministry Symphony Orchestra/Roman Belyshev), 2014
BBC Radio 3 broadcast (In Tune) of 1st Piano Sonata, Op. 14 (Sergei Podobedov: piano), 2012
Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, Sonata for Quartet (Peter Cigleris/Erato Trio), 2012
Wigmore Hall, Morning, Op. 3 (Grace Davidson/Tippett Quartet), 2008
Performances have also taken place in Denmark, Sweden, South America, The United States, Poland and Germany, plus a broadcast on Australian Radio.
David Braid: Chamber and Instrumental Music, Toccata Classics, 2012: Cat. No: TOCC0149
David Braid: Songs, solos & Duos, Metier label (Divine Art Recordings Group) release date: October 20th. 2017, Cat. No. MSV 28575
M.Litt. (Composition), University of Oxford, St. Anne’s College
M.Mus. (Composition), Royal College of Music, London
Dip.RCM. (Composition/Guitar), Royal College of Music
Private study, Prof. Zbigniew Bujarski, Cracow, Poland (Fugue/Counterpoint)
Supp. Diploma (Composition/Conducting), Cracow Academy of Music, Poland
Return to Wonderland (works for solo lute) Le Luth Doré, Paris, 2016
Invocation and Continuum (flute/guitar) plus numerous other duos with viola/voice/violin, etc., Productions D’Oz, Quebec, 2016
Intermezzo (brass band), plus other works for woodwind and percussion, Experianza Music, 2016
Guest Blog: David Braid on Reconstructing Harmony, Music Haven, London, 2016 Play Classical Guitar (tutor book/CD), Backbeat Books, London, 2000 Curso Completo de Guitarra Clasica (Spanish tr. of Play Classical Guitar), Parramon, Barcelona, 2008
Red Note Composition Prize 2016 (Illinois State University): Honourable Mention for Morning, Op. 3
Edinburgh University Brass Band Prize, February 2017: Intermezzo for brass band, Op. 51
Fine Arts Sinfonia Composition Prize, London, 2005
John Longmire Prize for Composition, Royal College of Music, London, 1998
Jack Morrison Prize for Guitar, Royal College of Music, 1993
Professional membership/other activities
SPNM (previous name of Sound & Music) Short-listed composer 2001
Took part in Sound Inventors education project 2001
Private teacher: composition/theory/classical guitar 1994-2006
Steve Reich: “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”.
“The use of counterpoint in the hypnotic setting of Neruda in Morning is gripping” – Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine.
David Braid avoids the demanding compositional density of much contemporary music, and has instead a more direct quality, generating atmosphere with a sparse, textural clarity, while demonstrating a keen interest in form. Josie Dixon, Oxford Today.
Instrument design, Acoustics, Literature, Cinema, Science fiction, Sharks