John Psathas, ONZM

John Psathas (1966) is a freelance composer and Professor of Composition at the New Zealand School of Music Victoria University, and lives in Wellington New Zealand. His music has achieved a level of international success unprecedented in New Zealand history, and his concert works are performed constantly on the international stage by many of the world’s top musicians. Originally of Greek heritage, John is also now considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora.

Known internationally as a composer of widely-performed solo, ensemble, and orchestral works, John also has a natural inclination toward mega-projects. Since writing much of the ceremonial music for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, his music has been on the radar screen of a wider public than that normally associated with contemporary classical music. Most recently his epic project No Man’s Land http://www.nomanslandproject.org/  involved direct collaboration with over 150 musicians from more than 25 countries.

John is in constant demand as a composer in many genres and media. His musical style brings together the languages of jazz, classical, Eastern European and Middle Eastern, avant-garde, rock, and electronica.

His collaborations have included projects with Serj Tankian and System of a Down (Armenia/USA), Oum El Ghait (Morocco), Meeta Pandit (India), Bijan Chemirani (Iran/France), Evelyn Glennie (UK), Marta Sebestyen (Hungary), Lara St John (Canada/USA), the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, Michael Burritt (USA), the New Juilliard Ensemble (USA), Sofia Labropoulou and Vagelis Karipis (Greece), The Halle Orchestra (UK), Kristjan Jarvi (Estonia/Germany/USA), Salman Rushdie (UK/India), Yuja Wang (China), Refugees of Rap (Syria), Russel Walder (USA), Derya Turkan and Saddredin Ozcimi (Turkey), film directors Dana Rotberg (Mexico) and Mike Wallis (NZ), Warren Maxwell and Little Bushman (NZ), jazz luminaries Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman, and many others.

As an educator, he is currently spear-heading the integration the of film-scoring programs at the New Zealand School of Music with Park Road Post Productions and other industry partners. Current postgraduate supervisions include Masters and Doctoral students creating ground-breaking work in Pasifika music, vintage electronica, musical hybridity, Ethio-jazz, and the understanding of harmonic progression in the film-scores of Alexandre Desplat.