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Second-Hand Time & Voices at the End

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Artist Profile

John Psathas

NZ-Greek composer John Psathas shot to worldwide attention when his music was heard more than a billion people during the Opening Ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. The NZ Arts Foundation Laureate has achieved a level of international success unprecedented for a NZ composer, having reached concert audiences in more than 50 countries on 7 continents, even Antarctica. He is now also considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora.

In 2019 Psathas closed the door on 25 years of university teaching to devote all his time to composing, and to embark on a return to performing onstage.

He has collaborated on a Billboard classical chart-topping album with System of a Down front man Serj Tankian, has written feature-film scores, collaborated with the Grand Mufti in Paris’s Grand Mosque, crossed into jazz in projects with luminaries Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman, and collaborated on an e-book project with Salman Rushdie. Few composers cross the boundaries of musical genres to the extent that Psathas does, and with such ongoing global success. His journey is best described as an explosion of collaborations with artists from dozens of musical traditions spanning Asia, Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Australasia.

Percussion has always been a strong feature of Psathas’ output, with a consistent schedule of new percussion commissions from many of the world’s top players. COVID-19 also served to further broaden the scope of his work, with the 2020 release of long-distance collaborative albums It’s Already Tomorrow, and Last Days of March.

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