EP21: Gavin Higgins | Using music as a self therapy

The High Point podcast - Atelier Crescendo's podcast

18-03-2024 • 1 hr 22 mins

Marc delves into the extraordinary career of composer Gavin Higgins, hailed by critics as "boldly imaginative," "a talent to watch," and "one of the most interesting voices of his generation."

Born in Gloucestershire in 1983, Higgins' musical journey began at Chetham’s School of Music and continued through prestigious institutions like The Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal College of Music.

His portfolio boasts remarkable compositions, including the acclaimed "Der Aufstand" and "Velocity" premiered at the BBC Proms, and the Ivor Novello Award-winning trombone concerto, "The Book of Miracles." Notable for his diverse range, Higgins' works span from operas like "The Monstrous Child" to dynamic brass pieces deeply rooted in his working-class brass band heritage.

As the inaugural Music Fellow for the Rambert Dance Company, Higgins crafted mesmerising ballet scores, earning accolades for works like "Dark Arteries." His debut album, "Ekstasis," showcases his chamber music prowess, described as "seductively sinewy" and "sensuously gritty."

Gavin talks about how being diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and OCD as a child helped him use music a self therapy, as well as the challenges around general misconceptions of Tourette’s.

With the UK's arts and culture sector facing mounting challenges, including funding constraints and limited opportunities, Marc and Gavin explore the imperative need for broader conversations, particularly surrounding diversity and class representation within the arts.

They explore the personal growth and development fostered by music engagement, regardless of proficiency level or instrument choice. While underscoring the pressing need for increased funding, support, and investment in both music education and accessible venues, we also spotlight the transformative potential of community-driven initiatives.


00:00:00 - Episode Begins - Intro to Gavin

00:05:21 - Musical Education

00:07:41 - Brass Bands

00:10:59 - Chetham Music School

00:15:15 - Royal Northern College of Music

00:17:45 - Early Compositions

00:22:44 - Moving to London

00:27:31 - Financial challenges of pursuing a career in music

00:33:44 - Class representation in the arts

00:41:00 - What can be done to get kids more musically engaged?

00:47:12 - Tourette Syndrome

01:02:06 - Venues

01:07:17 - Finding Inspiration and Creative Process

01:14:19 - How do you compose for a whole orchestra?

01:20:26 - Awards


Find out more about Gavin on his website.

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