Ryan Probert has collaborated on two occasions with the Vickers-Bovey Guitar Duo, and is in the process of beginning a third project.
Julian Vickers and Daniel Bovey both studied at Birmingham Conservatoire, under the tuition of Mark Ashford. They have recently been described by Mark Eden of the Eden Stell Guitar Duo as ‘one of the most exciting guitar duos I have recently heard. They have beautifully effortless techniques, musicality in abundance, and that special ingredient that makes them stand out… originality!’
Both are individual winners of the Birmingham Conservatoire Guitar Prize, and have recently been awarded the 2014 Leamington Music Prize, a major competition which will see them give a recital for Leamington Music’s forthcoming Winter Series. In 2013 they were awarded Birmingham Conservatoire’s highest chamber music accolades, winning the Sylvia Cleaver Chamber Music Competition and the Derek Young Memorial Award, and were also finalists in the Town Hall / Symphony Hall Prize in both 2013 and 2014.
Past concerts have included recitals with soprano Iuno Connolly, and for Newport Music Club, Stafford Guitar Society, Frontiers+ Festival and Frome Festival. Julian and Daniel have recently accepted an offer to continue their studies next September with a joint Masters at the Royal Academy of Music, becoming only the third guitar duo to study at the Royal Academy.
Thirty-six Views of Mount. Fuji
Ryan began work on a collection of 36 small guitar duos based on the prints of the same name by 19th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai in late 2011, finishing in mid-2013. The pieces were initially written with solo guitarist Paul Norman in mind, however after writing a few Ryan arranged the pieces for duo and completed the collection specifically with Vickers-Bovey in mind. Ryan wrote many of the pieces to help him deal with the absence of the friends he made in Japan, each movement dedicated to a different person. The pieces have been performed on over 15 occasions as of April 2014, including the 2013 Frome Festival at the Silk Mill, the finale of the 2013 Frontiers+ Festival and the opening of the 2014 Frontiers+ Festival at the new Library of Birmingham. Subtle and moving, the pieces were awarded the 2013 John Mayer Prize, a prize that acknowledges compositional work that fuses styles, genres or elements from different cultures. Below is a recording from the 2013 Frontiers+ Festival:
The total length of the complete piece is 50 minutes.
Eight Views of the Four Seasons
Vickers-Bovey for their 2014 project I don’t really recommend it commissioned Ryan to write a 10 minute composition as an opening to the concert. It is based on the artwork of the same name by the Korean artist An Gyeon who lived in the 14th century and is in eight movements.
The pieces were given a second performance alongside Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint and pieces by Richard Stenton and Sam Taylor, during the 2014 Frontiers+ Festival. Like Thirty-six Views of Mount. Fuji most of the material for the pieces was derived from melodies Ryan listened to ask a child, as well as some intuitively written melodies. Below is a recording from the premier at Birmingham Conservatoire‘s Recital Hall: