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Gavin has taught at some of the country’s leading institutions for over 15 years. In that time many of his students have gone on to win major composition competitions, to go to elite conservatoires and universities and from there to successful careers as composers and professional musicians.
Gavin recognises students’ desire to compose in their own style, and his own versatility as a composer means he is able to support them in this aim. Recent students have composed film scores, pop music, big band jazz, contemporary classical concert music, ballet, and opera. By freeing up creativity and coaching in compositional techniques Gavin enables students to develop their own voice, compose music which is new and original, and achieve their potential.
Early on Gavin was active as a jazz musician and improviser and he arrived at university to study theoretical physics. Within a year he had converted to a music degree and since that time he has created works in dance, film, opera, interactive audio visual performance as well as concert music, with performances by leading ensembles including members of the BBC Philharmonic and Psappha in venues such as the Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre, Teatro la Fenice, Venice, MediaCityUK and the HIP festival, North Carolina. His diverse background is indicative of his teaching approach which draws in aspects of other arts as well as philosophical, scientific and sociological themes.
He is an academic tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music and has lectured in composition, conducting and musicology at the universities of Nottingham, Salford and Manchester. He is composition tutor at Chetham’s School of Music and is resident conductor of the junior RNCM New Music Ensemble with whom he runs composers’ workshops, in addition to his work there as a composition tutor. He is also a regular composition tutor on the Chetham’s international piano summer school.
He gained his PhD in composition from the University of Manchester in 2007 and has undertaken further professional development at the Royal Opera House as part of the VOX opera writing scheme, the Centre Acanthes conducting academy under maestro Peter Eötvös, and the Creative Connections course at the Royal Opera House where he collaborated with teachers and practitioners in dance, visual arts and music in innovative teaching methods. Gavin is also active as a performer, both as a pianist and, more often, as a conductor, in particular of contemporary music. Recently he conducted Manchester Camerata and Psappha in the Sonic Fusions festival and in contemporary opera. Over the course of his teaching and professional career Gavin’s enthusiasm for the creation of amazing sounds, dramatic musical forms and life changing performances has grown unstoppably.
He aims to pass on this fascination for music in all its forms to his students so that they may experience this for themselves and inspire it in their audiences.