Liam Byrne spends most of his time playing either very old or very new music on the viol. An obsession with the instrument’s most obscure 16th and 17th century repertoire is a recurring theme in his work, whether in devising experimental baroque performance installations for the Victoria & Albert museum, or in collaboration with the Appalachian fiddler Cleek Schrey, or creating new electronic works with Icelandic composer Valgeir Sigurðsson.
Liam’s solo performances frequently combine old viol music with new works written for him by composers such as David Lang, Nico Muhly, and Edmund Finnis, among many others. Summer of 2017 also sees the release of two massive studio-based works: Donnacha Dennehy’s 40-minute long Tessellatum for multi-tracked viol and viola (with Nadia Sirota), and Valgeir Sigurðsson’s Dissonance, a 23-minute deconstruction and explosion of a Mozart string quartet using many layers of Liam’s improvisation. Both are released on the Icelandic label Bedroom Community.
photo credit: Tom Roelofs