John Hardy is a composer whose music is performed and broadcast across Wales, the UK and worldwide. His work includes substantial opera, choral and instrumental music commissioned by organisations including Welsh National Opera, DV8, BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales, Music Theatre Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra, Test Dept, and Westminster Abbey.
John’s work is characterised by a directness of communication, a focus on totality of experience, and a valuing and nurturing of creativity in others.
His concert music is often connected to particular people or experiences, with orchestral suite Blue Letters from Tanganyika inspired by the adventures of his mother during her time as a teacher travelling across East Africa, whilst choral cycle Spaces – Beyond the End of the World explores the idea of a great journey to an unreachable place. His music has been described as 'utterly engrossing' (The Guardian), 'witty' (The Independent), 'gripping and intensely theatrical' (Opera Now) and 'energetic, instinctive' (The Times).
John is a collaborator, working with artists and communities to create work including opera and theatre. Through these there is a focus on creating a total experience, marked for example in his collaboration with Mike Pearson on theatre production The Persians, ‘what is impressive… is the totality of the experience’ (The Guardian). John’s operas communicate directly and powerfully, with works such as Flowers described as ‘gripping and intensely theatrical’ (Opera Now) with ‘a dramatic style both accessible and challenging… unique and surprising piece of music-theatre’ (The Guardian).
Working through his company John Hardy Music, which holds five BAFTA Cymru awards plus four further nominations for Best Original Soundtrack Music, John has over 35 years experience writing and producing music for film, brands, television, theatre, radio, dance and through other forms of collaboration. He has written original music for over 350 productions, including acclaimed Welsh crime drama series Hinterland / Y Gwyll, seen worldwide through the BBC and Netflix.
From primary school projects like The Lost Island for Tŷ Cerdd, through community and outreach projects such as Sounds and Stories for St. David’s Hall, to his post since 2010 as Head of Composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), John’s approach in education work has been to help 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, and large-scale community projects such as Black February / Mis Bach Du, for Welsh National Opera.
John was born in Exmouth and has lived in Wales since 1980. He composes at his studio in Chapter Arts Centre, at home in Cardiff, and at RWCMD.