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John Psathas

Arranger, Composer, Performer, Presenter

Small john psathas 2604  gareth watkins
Born: 1966

Biography

Ioannis (John) Psathas was born in Wellington New Zealand July 3rd, 1966. His father (Emmanuel Psathas, from Nea Michaniona) and mother (Anastasia Psathas, from Thessaloniki) emigrated to New Zealand in 1960 (both sides of John’s ancestors descend from Anatoliki Thrace). His music emerges from a dazzling 21st century backdrop, where dynamic collaboration with creative masters from all corners of the physical and artistic globe result in outcomes that are visionary, moving, and inspired.

From genre-crossing projects with jazz legends Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman, to an innovative e-book scoring collaboration with Salman Rushdie, from an unforgettable recording session with the Grand Mufti in Paris's Grand Mosque, to a Billboard classical-chart-topping album with System of a Down front man Serj Tankian, Psathas's musical journey weaves through myriad of genres, and has moved concert audiences in more than 50 countries on all 7 continents (even Antarctica).

The Psathas family entered the restaurant business and John grew up in a small New Zealand town, Taumaranui. He then went to college in the city of Napier – where he developed a strong interest in music. He left college early to study piano and composition at Victoria University of Wellington. In 1988 John’s parents and sister (Tania) returned to Greece permanently. His parents live in Nea Michaniona. After completing his Master’s degree, John studied and worked for 2 years in the USA and in Belgium. Before returning to New Zealand in 1994 where he has lectured at Victoria University’s School of Music (now the New Zealand School of Music) ever since. He is now Professor of Composition.

Early career collaborations included working with such luminaries as Sir Mark Elder, Kristjan Jarvi, the Takacs Quartet, Lara St. John, the Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Edo de Wart, Joanna MacGregor, Pedro Carneiro, the Halle Orchestra, The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, the Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Orchestra of Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini", the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and many more. Then followed a period of intense creative exploration in the worlds of electronica and jazz, and a series of mega-projects (such as scoring much of the opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games). All of which has led to an explosion of first-hand collaborations with artists from dozens of musical traditions spanning Asia, Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Australasia.

John is now developing projects that integrate the many strands of this creative journey. Much of his recent work has social and historical commentary at its core. The film White Lies (original film score) depicts a head-on clash of beliefs and the nature of identity in early NZ European settler society. Between Zero and One is inspired by ancient and modern rhythms, and brings musicians from around the world into the concert space via interactive projection, transforming and challenging the traditional experience of fixed-location, temporally-contained performance. _00 Years (in collaboration with the world's most famous living Armenian, Serj Tankian) is an unflinching exploration and remembrance of the Armenian Genocide begun in 1915. Most recently, the epic and experimental No Man’s Land project overtly challenges the accepted handling of WWI commemoration. No Man's Land involved filming and integrating 150 musicians from more than 25 different countries, including Oum El Ghait (Morocco), Meeta Pandit (India), Bijan Chemirani (Iran/France), Marta Sebestyen (Hungary), Vagelis Karipis (Greece), Refugees of Rap (Syria), and Derya Turkan and Saddredin Ozcimi (Turkey).

Psathas is now one of New Zealand’s most internationally acclaimed composers and has received numerous awards and honours, including twice winning the SOUNZ Contemporary Award (2002 and 2004) for individual works and three 'Tuis' for Classical CD of the Year (2000, 2004, and 2007). In 2003, he was made a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate and in 2005 was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). With performances in venues from Windsor Castle to Kalamazoo, Jakarta to Bermuda, Japan to Alaska, and Hong Kong to Tel Aviv, he has established and maintains an active international reputation. He is also now considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora.

[As a recipient of a 2006 Arts Foundation Laureate Award more information about John Psathas can be found on the Arts Foundation website.]


Composed (93)

4BY4

for percussion quartet, 8m 30s


A Cool Wind

for string quartet


Abhisheka

for mixed chamber ensemble


Abhisheka

for string quartet, 8m


Abhisheka

for string orchestra, 9m


Aegean

for piano trio, 4m 30s


Antara

for clarinet and synthesizer, co-composed with Manos Achalinotopoulos, co-arranged with Steve Garden


Bacchic

written by Manos Achalinotopoulos and arranged by John Psathas for clarino, Zourna, floghera and band


Baw My Barne

for SSAATTBB vocal ensemble, 5m


Between Zero and One

for percussion ensemble


Calenture

for two grand pianos and electric guitar, 9m


Calenture Suite: Dialogos

for jazz quartet, arranged by Chris Mason-Battley Group, 29m 40s


Cloud Folk

for percussion octet and piano


Corybas

for piano trio, 11m 30s


djinn

for solo marimba and chamber orchestra, 20m


Doxastiko

composed by Manos Achalinotopoulos and arranged by John Psathas for mixed chamber ensemble with voice


Drum Dances

for drum kit and piano, 12m


Drum Dances Pt4: Dialogos

for jazz quartet, arranged by Chis Mason-Battley Group, 7m 2s


Fanfare for a Super City

for orchestral brass, percussion and organ


Fragment

for vibraphone and piano, 3m


Fragment

for piano duet, 4m


Fragment

for marimba and vibraphone, arranged by Jeremy Fitzsimons


Fragment

for solo piano, arranged by Dan Poynton


Fragment: Dialogos

for jazz quartet, arranged by Chris Mason-Battley Group, 4m 18s


Full of Sympathy

a rock song, 3m


Good for Nothing

original motion picture soundtrack


Gyftiko (yiftiko)

for solo violin, 5m


Happy Tachyons

for marimba and vibraphone (one player) and piano, 8m


Heliotrope

for clarinet and electroacoustic, co-composed with Manos Achalinotopoulos


Helix

for piano trio, 20m


Hymn to the Muse

for voice and ensemble


Inferno: Dialogos

for jazz quartet, arranged by Chris Mason-Battley Group, 5m 59s


Iris Flight

for clarinet, percussions, drums, acoustic bass, soprano saxophone and electroacoustic, co-composed with Manos Achalinotopoulos and Steve Garden, co-arranged with Steve Garden


Island Songs

for clarinet, cello and piano, 13m


Island Songs

for violin, cello, and piano, 13m


Jettatura

for piano, 5m


Jettatura for Percussion Duo

for percussion duo, 4m 30s


Kartsigar

for string quartet, 17m


Kyoto

for five percussionists, 8m


Luminous

for orchestra, 7m


Maenads

for mixed chamber ensemble


Mal Occhio

for soprano saxophone, electric guitar, percussion and piano


Manurewa Fanfare

for wind orchestra, 3m


Matre's Dance

for piano and percussion, 12m


Matre's Dance (version for percussion ensemble)

for solo percussion and mallet quartet, arranged by Omar Carmenates


Motet

for piano duet, 15m


Muisca

for solo 6-string classical guitar, 15m


Muisca for Percussion Duo

for percussion duo, 15m


Nemesi

for unaccompanied SATB choir, 7m


No Man's Land

1h 25m


Nocturnes

for saxophone quartet and percussion, 10m


Olympiad XXVIII

for full orchestra, 15m


Olympic - Athens 2004

for full orchestra and choir


Omnifenix

for tenor saxophone, drumkit and orchestra, 16m


One Study One Summary

for marimba, junk percussion and tape, 12m


One Summary Remix

electroacoustic remixed by Tim Prebble


Orpheus in Rarohenga

for soprano, tenor and bass soloists, SATB choir and orchestra, 46m


Overture

for 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B flat, 3 trombones, 4 percussionists, 5m


Percussion Concerto

for four percussion soloists and symphony orchestra, 23m


Piano Quintet

for string quartet and piano, 18m


Planet Damnation

for timpani and orchestra


Planet Damnation

for timpani and digital audio, 11m 30s


Pounamu

for soloist (vocals/guitar/bass guitar) and orchestra


Psyzygysm

for solo percussionist and mass chamber ensemble including percussion, 17m


Rhythm Spike

for solo piano, 9m


Saxon

for brass band, 10m


Seikilos

for orchestra, 12m


Shocked Awake

for piano, 10m


Sleeper

for piano, 4m


Song of Seikilos

for voice and ensemble, arranged by John Psathas


Songs for Simon

for piano and tape


Songs for Simon Suite: Dialogos

for jazz quartet, arranged by Chris Mason-Battley Group, 14m 40s


Spike

for percussion and piano, 8m


Spike

for soprano saxophone, electric guitar, marimba/vibraphone, cello, double bass and piano, 11m


Stream 3

for chamber orchestra, 13m


Stream 3.3

for percussion, piano, bass, guitar, e-bow guitar with samples and sequencing, 13m


Tarantismo

for full orchestra


Te Papa Fanfare

for brass band, 6m


Te Papa Fanfare

for 4 trumpets, 4 trombones and 4 percussionists, 6m


Terra

for clarinet, bass clarinet, bass trombone, cello, bass, percussion and conductor, 8m


The Harvest Suite

for solo saxophone with looping pedals, co-composed with Adam Page


The New Zeibekiko

for multiple soloists/greek folk musicians and orchestra


Three Psalms

for piano and chamber orchestra, 23m


Ukiyo

for marimba and vibraphone, with two CD players


View from Olympus

double concerto for percussion, piano and orchestra, 20m


Waiting : Still

for piano and Balinese gamelan, 5m


Waiting : Still

for keyboard percussion and tuned gongs, arr. by Omar Carmenates, 5m


Waiting : Still

for keyboard percussion and gamelan, arr. by Omar Carmenates, 5m


White Lies

for piano, taonga puoro, strings and electronics


Zahara

for saxophone and orchestra, 22m


Zeal

for two pianos, 15m


Zeibekiko

collaboration for wind ensemble and Greek folk musicians, 1h 15m



Arranged (16)

9 out of 10 out of its!

composed by Drew Menzies, Reuben Bradley & James Illingworth, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 4m 30s


Antara

for clarinet and synthesizer, co-composed with Manos Achalinotopoulos, co-arranged with Steve Garden


Bacchic

written by Manos Achalinotopoulos and arranged by John Psathas for clarino, Zourna, floghera and band


Doxastiko

composed by Manos Achalinotopoulos and arranged by John Psathas for mixed chamber ensemble with voice


Heliotrope

for clarinet and electroacoustic, co-composed with Manos Achalinotopoulos


Hymn to the Muse

for voice and ensemble


I've got nothing good to say

composed by Drew Menzies, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 8m


Iris Flight

for clarinet, percussions, drums, acoustic bass, soprano saxophone and electroacoustic, co-composed with Manos Achalinotopoulos and Steve Garden, co-arranged with Steve Garden


Ladies Man

composed by Drew Menzies, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 8m


Laura's Laksa

composed by Drew Menzies, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 7m


Man's Life

composed by Drew Menzies, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 8m


Mansfield (Street)

composed by Drew Menzies & Reuben Bradley, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas & Reuben Bradley, 7m 40s


Mantis & Muscles

composed by James Illingworth & Drew Menzies, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 5m


Meeting at Union Square

composed by Drew Menzies & Reuben Bradley, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas, 7m


Oh Lord!

composed by Drew Menzies & James Illingworth, arranged by Reuben Bradley with strings by John Psathas & Reuben Bradley, 9m 50s


Song of Seikilos

for voice and ensemble, arranged by John Psathas



Recordings (36)

Island Song - CD

Audio/visual


Ogen Trio: Ahi - CD

Audio/visual



Resources (26)

Canzona 2004 vol 25 no 46 - JOURNAL

Commentary or analysis



Performances (5)

NZSQ National Tour - Wellington (Hunter Council Chamber)

Join us for a concert of groundbreaking works that have each taken the quartet genre in new direc...


NZSQ National Tour - Blenheim

Join us for a concert of groundbreaking works that have each taken the quartet genre in new direc...


NZSQ National Tour - Queenstown

Join us at the exclusive Lodge at the Hills for a special evening of fine wine and music, includi...


NZSQ National Tour - Auckland

Join us for a concert of groundbreaking works that have each taken the quartet genre in new direc...


SMP Ensemble Presents: Shimmers

SMP Ensemble presents a concert showcasing the wealth of emerging performance-based and compositi...