John Metcalf

John Metcalf was born in Swansea, Wales in 1946. A joint UK/Canadian citizen, he is one of the foremost composers working in Wales, his composing career embracing a large variety of work including six operas, two to commission from Welsh National Opera. His chamber operas Kafka’s Chimp and A Chair in Love – notable in that they are performed without a conductor and with instrumentalists memorising much of the score – have received international exposure and recognition from productions in several countries.

Since the early 1990s a definitive series of orchestral and chamber works have also enhanced his reputation nationally and internationally. These include Paradise Haunts, Mapping Wales, Cello Symphony and the String Quartet Llwybrau Cân (Paths of Song).

During this time he has also continued to explore the boundaries and context of music performance in projects such as the collaboration with artist Catrin Webster on Transports performed at the Galeria Communale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in Rome. Performances around the world marked his 60th birthday year in 2006.

John Metcalf was both an Artistic Director and Associate Artistic Director at the Banff Centre, Canada for a period of nearly ten years and was Artistic Director of the Swansea Festival from 1996 – 2007. He is presently Artistic Director of the award-winning Vale of Glamorgan Festival. He has led creative music projects in more than one hundred schools throughout Wales, reflecting his belief in an active, participatory role for the composer in society. In 1999 his music was played during the signing, by Her Majesty the Queen, of the Act bringing into being Wales’ first elected Assembly for 500 years.

John Metcalf can be visited at

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