Head of Composition
John Hardy is an international composer and collaborator, always working to create art, including film, opera and theatre, in Wales and worldwide. His work is characterised by a directness of communication, a focus on totality of experience, and a valuing and nurturing of creativity in others. ‘Utterly engrossing’ (The Guardian); ‘hauntingly atmospheric’ (The Observer); ‘energetic, instinctive’ (The Times); ‘unique’ (The Guardian); ‘witty’ (The Independent); ‘gripping and intensely theatrical’ (Opera Now). As a boy, John was head chorister at Exeter Cathedral. While at Oxford University and the Guildhall School he was director of Edington Festival for four years. John’s approach in education work is to encourage students to develop their creativity in a way that is meaningful to them. His valuing of this creativity in others has led to collaborative and professional work with his students and graduates.
His commissions include substantial works for Welsh National Opera, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, Music Theatre Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra, Test Dept, Serendipity, Vivace, Only Men Aloud, Westminster Abbey, BBC Singers and London Brass. Performances include collaborations with ICA London, DV8/National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, National Theatre Wales, Brith Gof, Edington Music Festival, Oslo, Madrid, Copenhagen, Dublin, Machynlleth and Polverigi Festivals, LIFT, Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and much touring. John and the composers at John Hardy Music hold six BAFTA Cymru awards, plus five further nominations, for their film and TV scores. John is interested in exploring ways for younger artists to prepare themselves for a lifetime of rewarding and sustainable creativity and collaboration.
John collaborated closely with recent RWCMD graduate Tic Ashfield on The Gathering for National Theatre Wales in 2014, which involved composing music for an environment based, site specific theatre performance, including sound recordings installed within the landscape across the south side of Eryri / Snowdon, and featuring the extraordinary presence on the mountain of the local Deiniolen Brass Band. The autumn performances, which also featured a team of professional shepherds and their sheepdogs within the journey of the performance, was led by a cast of around 50 performers, crew and guides, across several square miles of the steepest parts of Snowdonia National Park.
Other innovative collaborations include The Hunchback in the Park for Aardman Animation and BBC Online; Storms 1, Storms 2 and The Tide Whisperer for National Theatre Wales.
He was invited to conduct a review of the composition courses at the National Film and TV School (NFTS) at Beaconsfield, 2019, and has examined doctoral work for Royal Holloway University of London, 2018-2019.
John’s research includes an interest in the processes that animate teamwork. For the TV series Hinterland, his methods of working demonstrated an innovative approach in which real-time improvisation, and the encouraging of each member of the collaborative team to contribute to every part of the process, made for a rigorous scheme that allowed not only for invigorating artistry, but also an ability to work with speed and to budget through the entire production.