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Gary Hayes: Biography

Gary Hayes
1948 -
Region: Ontario

Gary Hayes

Gary Hayes, born in Hamilton in 1948, showed an early interest in music. He studied violin, piano, percussion and theory, beginning at the age of seven, and performed in an orchestra and a variety of bands. He entered the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music, where he obtained his Bachelor of Music degree in Composition. His teachers there were John Beckwith and John Weinzweig.

After graduating, he was one of a group of six composers who formed ARRAYMUSIC. A number of his works were performed in concerts organized by this group, and his chamber work Pythian I, written for these concerts, was a winner in the 1973 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Young Composers Competition. During this period Hayes also wrote for theatre, performed and composed popular music, and was active as a member of the Board of Directors and Technical Co-ordinator for the Mariposa Folk Festival.

In 1975, he joined the CBC as a Music Producer in Ottawa, where he still makes his home. Now Executive Producer, Radio Music & Arts with CBC Ottawa, he has continued to be active as a composer. His music has been commissioned by such groups as New Music Concerts (Toronto), the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Canadian Brass and Espace Musique, and performed and broadcast in Canada, America, England, and Europe.

Hayes has written for a variety of occasions in a variety of styles but always through his music winds a thread of lyricism and rhythmic pulse that reflects his background in popular and classical traditions. Not without an influence from the new music styles, Hayes' music blends these traditional elements with a freedom of form and tonality. Hayes' music often calls on extra-musical imagery, depicted in the titles chosen for his works. His solo guitar work Soring both suggests a sense of flight and relates back to the guitar composer Fernando Sor. In Spectre I for flute and piano, (a work protesting war and international terrorism) he quotes extensively from Thomas Mann's Dr. Faustus. His Mists and the Dreams of Mists evokes the gloom and quiet terror of H.P. Lovecraft.

Though often free-form, Hayes' works share a continuity of rhythm and structure which inevitably provide the performer and listener with a firm grasp of direction.


PROCAN, Canadian League of Composers


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