Arts Council of Wales | John Rea
Creative Wales Awards 2011/12

John Rea


John-ReaJohn left Cardiff University with an M.Mus. in composition under the guidance of Prof. Alun Hoddinott CBE. Following an early career sessioning and arranging for Dave Stewart’s Anxious Records, he has quickly developed a career as a composer. Working from his Cardiff-based recording studio, he enjoys experimenting with both traditional instrumentation and studio technology.

John’s unique approach has earned him great acclaim in recent years, including two BAFTA Awards in the ‘Best Original Music’ category, as finalist in the London International Advertising Awards; and a STEMRA Best Production Award for his KPM album "Art Music and the Minimal".

John scored the Karl Francis feature "One of the Hollywood Ten", starring Jeff Goldblum and Greta Scacchi and followed this with a diverse range of projects. These include a score for ITV’s network film "The Last Musketeer"; "The Real Macaw" and "Sensitive Sharks" for BBC’s "Wildlife on One"; and a groundbreaking piece "Breakbeat" for string orchestra and four turntables/samplers, shown as part of the S4C TV series "Y Cyfansoddwyr" (The Composers).

He composed an orchestral score for the feature "Crosscurrent"; mixed Puccini’s "Tosca" with contemporary beats for opera singer Shân Cothi and Universal Records; and was commissioned by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales to compose the orchestral Overture ‘Illuminare’.


John-Rea- Performance-of-Bright-Lights-Big-City-for-S4CJohn proposes using the distant historical voices of Wales to create a powerful and emotive performance piece which combines theatre, music and archive to build an immersive and exciting live experience. These original recordings have seldom been heard before by the public and he wants to release these voices from the archive of the National Museum of Wales, St Fagans, to speak once again and be heard far and wide.

The work will take the form of a composed performance and ’sound design’ score, combining live ensemble, pre-recorded soundscapes which will play ‘in-sync’ with specially created projected images, set at The National History Museum, St Fagans, and making dramatic use of the buildings themselves as a backdrop. The score will be a mix of traditional orchestral strings, traditional Welsh instruments, performers, and evocative pre-recorded textures.

In realising this piece, John will collaborate closely with historians and musicologists to access knowledge, song-lines and explore the traditions of Welsh music in all its myriad of form and variations.

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