Guy Few

Trumpeter, Pianist


Published, EAC Communiqué, Spring 1997


s a powerful pianist and astonishing trumpeter, Guy Few delights audiences with his intensity and charm. He is in demand as a soloist and has played with all of Canada’s leading orchestras.

Innumerable prizes for piano and trumpet performances have marked his career. Finalist in the CBC Young Performers Competition and the Grand Prize Winner of the CIBC National Music Festival, in 1988 he received the Sylva Gelber Foundation Award from the Canada Council of the Arts when he was chosen Most Promising Artist in both piano and brass categories.

Born in Saskatchewan, Guy is a gold medal graduate of Wilfred Laurier University, and holds a fellowship diploma from Trinity College, London. At present he is head of trumpet studies at Wilfred Laurier University. He has been invited, as a professor, soloist, principal or recitalist, to take part in many summer festivals. Guy performs and records on a regular basis with a variety of artists and appears on CBC and CTV. His recent solo CD Exposures (on ibs label) features traditional and contemporary trumpet recital repertoire.

Guy Few has been a resident of Elora for four years.

Guy Few in conversation with Amy Appleford:

Why did you move to Elora?

I started to teach at Wilfred Laurier and didn’t feel comfortable with the drive back and forth to Toronto. I wanted to establish myself somewhere I would feel comfortable. I really like Elora. I’ve developed good friendships here. That’s important to me.

Toronto can be impersonal; you end up having a lot of acquaintances. Here, it wasn’t long before I met artists and an intellectual and alternative crowd in touch with what was going on in the village and elsewhere.

And being a new homeowner?

It’s the smallest house in the universe! But still it has a place for my piano, and my trumpets are here. It’s become my space for inventiveness, creativity and work. It keeps me focused and grounded.

Tell me about Visions
(a program of largely Canadian music, including new works by Peter Hatch, Boyd McDonald, Christos Hatzis, Kathryn Delory and Milton Barnes, premiered at the Music Gallery in Toronto, March 22, 1977)

With Visions I was trying to explore…my stage was set for experiencing dreams and those dreams function at different levels – completely realistic and more existential, relative to how the audience perceives them. In this programme, I wanted the evening to run without a break; to move from one dream experience to another. I wanted to create a complete environment for the audience to experience these challenging pieces on many different levels. Presentation can really influence the way an audience participates in, and enjoys, a concert.

Why did you choose this approach for Visions?

We have to develop a new audience for music, especially for classical music. Our audience as classical musicians is disappearing. This programme was intended to challenge a younger, more experienced audience: they can take it as it’s thrown at them! The way I publicized the concert, I tried to show them this could be just as fascinating as any other multi media performance, whether it be dance or theatre or pop music.

Do you think there is a vital contemporary music community in Canada?

There definitely is a vital contemporary music community out there. It isn’t something new, but it’s always being redefined. Organisations, such as Numus in Kitchener – Waterloo, are constantly being challenged to find spaces that work for their performances, to find funding that enables these performances – because, of course, new works have to be written to keep the scene alive – and that’s tough. We need people to accept these challenges.

Contemporary performance is only one aspect of your work…

Yes. Although new music is the most publicized of the things I do, traditional performance experience is just as exciting in its own way. To conform to traditions of classical music and express what you have to give through that music is sometimes even more challenging than performing new work. Performing with Anne Marie Wright, (A Few Wright Numbers) we do everything from cabaret to serious classical programming. A cabaret is a big challenge!

For me, playing a cantata in a church during a service needs to be a complete experience. If I have the opportunity to do something it has to go all the way.

by Amy Appleford, Spring 1977

 We have to develop a new audience for music, especially classical music.

UPDATE – 2005

Guy Few still lives in his “smallest house in the universe”. He is an adjunct professor of trumpet at Wilfrid Laurier University and The University of Western Ontario. Guy is equally at home in classical or contemporary genres.

Through the CBC, the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council, he has had the opportunity to debut new works by Canadian composers including Glen Buhr, Peter Hatch, Melissa Hui, Boyd McDonald and Jacques Hetu among others. Jacques Hutu’s concerto, written for Mr. Few, is available on Canadian Trumpet Concerti (CBC SM5000). He has recorded with numerous recording companies, including the Grammy Award winning Credo of Pendercki with the Oregon Bach Festival, Helmuth Rilling conductor for Hanssler Classics.

His new CD, “Vocalise”, with pianist Stephanie Mara, is available throughout Canada.