Richard Gavin Bryars (born 1943 in Yorkshire) is an English composer and double bassist. He has worked in jazz, free improvisation, minimalism, historicism, avant-garde, and experimental music. He is a member of the Collège de 'Pataphysique
. His first musical reputation was as a jazz bassist working in the early sixties with improvisers Derek Bailey
and Tony Oxley. He abandoned improvisation in 1966 and worked for a time in the United States with John Cage
. Subsequently he collaborated closely with composers such as Cornelius Cardew and John White. He founded the music department at Leicester Polytechnic (later De Montfort University), the Portsmouth Sinfonia and collaborated with Brian Eno
on his famed Obscure imprint. He has composed prolifically for the theatre and dance as well as for the concert hall and has written five full-length operas, four string quartets and a great deal of chamber music, much of it for his own ensemble. He has also worked with performers outside the "classical" music world such as Tom Waits, Natalie Merchant, Gavin Friday. He has also worked closely with Father John Misty. Among the visual artists who have worked with Gavin Bryars' music are: Tim Head, Bruce MacLean, James Hugonin, Bill Culbert, Jennifer Bartlett, Juan Muñoz, Christian Boltanski
, Robert Wilson, David Byrne, Will Alsop, and the Quay Brothers.