His doctor told him to stop playing the trumpet, to avoid travel and to avoid stress. That's because he has six tumour-like growths on his brain.
But Guy Few continues to do all of the above. He arrived in Winnipeg - by plane - and will be performing his trumpet (and piano) in a recital with bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson at Westminster Church on March 12.
Few has cavernomae, abnormalities composed of immaturely formed blood vessels which grow like tumours and can lead to seizures. Few had two of them operated on, one in 1990 and the other in 1998.
"The second was bigger than a deli pickle and went right between the lobes of my brain at the front," he explained.
"I lost language, vision, the ability to play trumpet and piano, lost all fine motor skills and had trouble remembering all of my repertoire."
After his surgery he gradually had to relearn all of those skills. He is now back on stage, making beautiful music and touring the country, despite doctor's orders.
"It's what I do," he said. "I love teaching, but if I didn't perform, I think there would be a big chunk missing from my world. I love the challenge, I love learning new repertoire, I love to present new piano concerti, new trumpet concerti, I love to do commissions and Nadine and I love to record. I like to keep it fresh and that's the way to keep it fresh for me, is to keep throwing new challenges into the mix."
Guy Few and Nadina Mackie Jackson's recent recording, Canadian Concerto Project, has been nominated for a Juno. It features contemporary and jazz-tinged works by Michael Occhipinti, Mathieu Lussier and Manitoba composer Glenn Buhr, his work called and man will only grieve if he believes the sun stands still.
Few and Mackie Jackson's recital is called Carnets de voyage and will feature a wide mix of music, including Buhr's work, with entertaining stories about their careers and their travels.
They also have quite a reputation as fashionistas. Few plans to wear an outfit by designer Dirk Bikkembergs and Mackie Jackson will wear what she calls a "bassoon superhero outfit" created by a former costume designer from Stratford to match her blue hair.
Trumpeter Guy Few and bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson perform Carnets de voyage March 12 at Westminster United Church at 7:30. The concert is presented by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.