Tywi John Hywel Roberts is a composer and performer from South Wales. His musical background is primarily in electronic music and the guitar - but since 2018 his composition activity has expanded into the realm of contemporary classical works, writing for groups such as Psappha, Festivo Winds, Nexus Duo, UnHeard Hybrid Orchestra, and various others. In 2019 he was the joint winner of the Rosamond Prize competition for his collaboration with poet Samantha Weaver, (‘Streets in the Sky’ for two marimbas, vocalist, and electronics, on the subject of Park Hill Flats in Sheffield). Tywi’s work frequently incorporates innovative technologies, and he has created pieces involving virtual reality, live coding, super low-latency streaming technology, and large assemblies of laptops processing the sounds of live acoustic ensembles in real-time. In February 2020 he was the musical director of the premiere performance of the UnHeard Hybrid Orchestra, and played a similar role in the 2021 follow up: UnHeard Hybrid Online, which headlined the first RNCM PLAY Festival. During the period 2013-2018 Tywi was based in Bristol and was heavily involved with the local music scene – most significantly playing guitar as part of instrumental post-rock band A Procession, in 2016 recording together their album Threnodies. 2013 was also the year he released his first solo album ZigZag Idiot. Prior to this, in 2008, Tywi studied a Master’s in Sonic Art & Digital Media Production at the University of Sheffield under the tutorship of Professor Adrian Moore. Since 2005, he has also spent a number of years working in the context of Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft seminars. These involve a unique and holistic approach to acoustic guitar playing, neither based entirely in the rock or classical traditions. In this context Tywi performed in various venues across Europe as part of various ensembles; including the League of Crafty Guitarists, the Berlin Guitar Ensemble, the Guitar Circle of Europe, and the Orchestra of Crafty Guitarists. Tywi’s current PhD research project at the Royal Northern College of Music (supervised by Mauricio Pauly, Larry Goves and Rodrigo Constanzo) is focused around mapping the methodologies of digital composition over to the acoustic space, and forming hybrid electronic/acoustic groups to explore this work. Tywi is one of four students currently presiding over the RNCM’s new music society UnHeard, which is a collective that endeavours to support and facilitate the creation and performance of new works in the college and around Manchester. It also offers opportunities to experiment with new technologies, and provide spaces for players and composers to work together and bring these innovative collaborations to performance.
Digital Hybrid is the culmination of Tywi J H Roberts’ PhD composition work at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, which was an extensive exploration of integration between electronic forces and acoustic forces in both recording and performance situations, as well as distributed creativity among many collaborating artists and performers.
The book takes the form of a creative commentary, and is an accompaniment to the album of the same name (releasing in 2022). It has been synthesised from a collation of Tywi’s writings on all the major works which he premiered in the period from 2018 – 2021.