Photo credit: Gareth Watkins

Photo credit: Gareth Watkins


John Psathas, ONZM

The music of John Psathas has achieved a level of international success unprecedented in New Zealand history, and his works are performed, broadcast, and screened constantly on the international stage by many of the world’s greatest artists and presenters. Originally of Greek heritage, Johnis also now considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora. His musical language draws inspiration from jazz, electronica, Eastern European, Middle Eastern, avant-garde, rock, and classical music.

Working at the highest level in his field internationally, John’s work merges musical innovation and social purpose. The cross-genre and cross-cultural fabric of John’s music accounts for its wide appeal and its artistic and cultural innovation. His work is of a scope and scale that is extraordinary, both in terms of musical fantasy, production processes, and creative results. No Man’s Land can be singled out as a recent massive-scale multimedia creation, featuring a vast family of international contributors. The result is an epic multi-cultural experience which has repeatedly and profoundly moved audiences.

His work has social and historical commentary at its core. 100 Years - a collaboration with the world’s most famous living Aremenian, Serj Tankian - is an unflinching exploration and remembrance of the Armenian Genocide begun in 1915. The massive percussion spectacle Between Zero and One is inspired by ancient and modern rhythms, and brings guest musicians from around the world into the concert space via interactive projection, transforming the traditional experience of fixed-location, temporally-contained performance. No Man’s Land overtly challenges the still-ingrained us-and-them mentality underlying much of the world’s war commemoration experience.

Significant projects include; collaborations with Serj Tankian, Oum El Ghait, Sir Mark Elder, Meeta Pandit, Bijan Chemirani, Kristjan Jarvi, Joanna MacGregor, Evelyn Glennie, Marta Sebestyen, the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, Sofia Labropoulou, Vagelis Karipis, The Halle Orchestra, writer Salman Rushdie, the Refugees of Rap, Russel Walder, Derya Turkan, writing much of the ceremonial music for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, scoring for film directors Dana Rotberg and Mike Wallis, and collaborating with jazz luminaries Joshua Redman and Michael Brecker.