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Liam Byrne

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 baroque performance installations for the Victoria and 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.



Over the years, Liam has worked closely with a wide variety of musicians, from Damon Albarn to Emma Kirkby, as well as being commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum to create a site-specific sound installation for their new Courtyard Gallery, which resulted in the eight-hour-long piece Partials, an exploration of the space’s resonance derived entirely from upper partial harmonics played on the viol. In 2015 Liam also collaborated with Nico Muhly on a sound installation for the National Gallery’s Soundscapes exhibition, and in 2016 was commissioned by the Dulwich Picture Gallery to make an immersive work in their Mausoleum, in response to two 17th century paintings by Gerrit Dou.