ARTIST PROFILEJohn Was B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.
John is a composer and music academic. He is a classically trained pianist with a background as a professional songwriter, musician, and record producer. His academic credentials include a Masters in Music Psychology and a Doctorate in Behavioural Musicology. Over his varied career he has accumulated extensive knowledge of a wide variety of musical styles and of traditional acoustic and computer-based technologies used in music creation and performance. His compositional work is generally research-led, a methodology which provides an intimate understanding of the subject material and a rich source of inspiration for the resulting musical pieces. Over the last decade his interests have focussed on the aesthetics of arcane places and objects. In particular, he has undertaken acoustic research at a number of Neolithic monumental sites around the UK, such as Stonehenge and Maeshowe. The resulting compositions utilise empirical acoustic data to explore the abstract form and hidden meaning of these places. John often collaborates with artists, photographers, and film-makers, to produce dynamic audio-visual pieces with powerful emotive undercurrents. Inspired by the relationship of ancient monuments and their environmental settings, he has recently turned his attention to the creation of audio-visual installations where sound melds with architecture, image, and light to produce a living, undulating 'genius loci' (spirit of place). John’s academic work focuses on what it is to be human and musical. His knowledge of psychology and neuroscience of audition and aesthetic judgement bring an extra dimension to his artistic vision.