Robin Hayward

The tuba player and composer Robin Hayward, born in Brighton, England in 1969, has been based in Berlin since 1998. He has introduced radical playing techniques to brass instruments, initially through the discovery of the ‘noise-valve’ in 1996, and later through the development of the first fully microtonal tuba in 2009. In 2012 he invented the Hayward Tuning Vine, partly out of a desire to visualize the harmonic space implicit within the microtonal tuba. His approaches to the tuba have been documented in numerous solo and collaborative releases. He has received both the International Tuba and Euphonium Association’s Clifford Bevan Award for Excellence in Research, and the ITEA’s Jim and Jamie Self Creative Award.

Robin is performing with Zinc & Copper as part of our 21 Sunsets along Marta De Pascalis & Golden Diskó Ship at Haus der Kulturen der Welt.


1. Genres don’t matter.

2. John Cage never had to bring up young children.

3. The tuba has always been microtonal.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

Not knowing what’s coming up next, and the challenge of music out of it.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I started playing the piano at the age of six, and tuba at the age of 10. I played in brass bands and orchestras through most of my teens. I felt increasingly trapped by the tuba in my early ’20s, and since then I’ve been seeking ways to feel free with the instrument again.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

Eric Dolphy – Out to Lunch
Kraftwerk – Computer World
Eleanor Antunes – discrepancies with F.H. a collaboration with zinc & copper
Éliane Radigue – Trilogie de la Mort
The Busch quartet playing late Beethoven

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

Long winters and an openness to new ideas.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

Tempelhofer Feld.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

Become a sailor.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

Actually Microtub’s ‘Sonic Drift’ LP / CD, as it was a condition for releasing it that we’d each preorder a number of the copies.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?


9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Microtub performing music from Sonic Drift at KM28 in Berlin, February 2020.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

Include both acoustic and electronic technology, it’s very important, as it feeds directly into the process of making music.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

Yes I have an elder sister. She doesn’t have a very high opinion of what I do.

Photo © Brad Marcum