The BBC Concert Orchestra today announced the appointment of composer, arranger and jazz trumpeter Guy Barker as its new Associate Composer. The position, previously held by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and the Art of Noise's Anne Dudley, will be for an initial period of two years beginning in April 2013.

Barker’s first work as Associate Composer will be premiered by the orchestra at the Aldeburgh Festival on 12 June 2013 and takes inspiration from Benjamin Britten in his centenary year. Britten based his The Turn of the Screw and Owen Wingrave on ghost stories by Henry James and Barker also draws on James’ work with a new 70-minute suite inspired by the writer’s short story ‘The Jolly Corner’ which has been reimagined by author Robert Ryan. Combining the full forces of the BBC Concert Orchestra with a 15-piece jazz ensemble, male vocalist and actress, That Obscure Hurt is a co-commission by BBC Radio 3 and Aldeburgh Music and its world premiere will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

The announcement follows Barker’s highly acclaimed 2012 BBC Prom premiere The Spirit of Django – orchestra suite which was co-written with guitarist Martin Taylor and inspired by Gypsy guitar jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. He has also arranged music for leading orchestras and ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia, and travels extensively as conductor of his Guy Barker Jazz Orchestra.

Barker has been nominated twice for the Mercury Prize for albums Into the Blue and Soundtrack and arranged music for Anthony Minghella’s film The Talented Mister Ripley in which he also duetted with actor Matt Damon. He has appeared on records by Sting and performed with an array of acclaimed musicians including Sammy Davis Jr, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones, Frank Sinatra, Clark Terry and Stan Tracey.

Guy Barker said: “I have worked with the BBC Concert Orchestra on a number of occasions and it has always been an extremely rewarding experience so I am delighted to accept this invitation. The idea of having the opportunity to write for, and to work with such a great orchestra, on a regular basis, is something that both inspires and excites me."

Andrew Connolly, General Manager of the BBC Concert Orchestra said: “I have been a huge fan of Guy’s work for a long time and have watched his development as leader and composer with interest. The orchestra has relished our past collaborations with Guy for BBC Radio 2 at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival and are excited to work with him on his specially commissioned pieces for the orchestra."

Roger Wright, Controller of BBC Radio 3 said: “This exciting appointment is a reminder of the BBC’s ongoing commitment to new music and I’m thrilled that Guy Barker will be part of the BBC Orchestras’ and BBC Singers’ distinguished roster of composers.”


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