John Psathas

John Psathas
John Psathas


John Psathas (b1966) is a freelance composer and Professor of composition at the New Zealand School of Music, living in Wellington New Zealand. His music has achieved a level of international success unprecedented in New Zealand history, and his concert works are performed regularly on the international stage by some of the world’s top musicians. These include, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Joanna MacGregor, The Halle Orchestra, Michael Brecker, Joshua Redman, Kristjan Jarvi, Sir Mark Elder, Pedro Carneiro, and many others.

Originally of Greek heritage, John is also now widely considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora. He has a natural inclination toward mega-projects. Since writing much of the ceremonial music for the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, John’s music has been on the radar screen of a wider public than that normally associated with contemporary classical music.

John is in extremely high demand as a composer in many genres and media. His musical style brings together the languages of jazz, classical, Eastern European and Middle Eastern, avant-garde, rock, and electronica.

His recent collaborations have included crossover projects with Serj Tankian, roots musicians Warren Maxwell and Little Bushman, Greek folk master musician Manos Achalinotopoulos, author Salman Rushdie, film director Dana Rotberg, and jazz luminaries Michael Brecker and Joshua Redman.

Career Milestones

Feature Film Scores
White Lies (Arthouse, 2013)
Good For Nothing (Western, 2011)
View From Olympus (Documentary, 2011)

View From Olympus
Good For Nothing OST
Flight on Light
Rhythm Spike

In the South (eBook score – collaboration with Salman Rushdie)

Composer for the Athens 2004 Opening and Closing Ceremonies (Olympic Flag, Olympic Flame, Fireworks, March of the Presidents, Swearing of the Oaths, Hymns and Anthems)
Ceremonial music for the official opening of Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand (Fanfare)
Inaugural Ceremony of Auckland as a Super-City (Fanfare)

Arts Laureate of New Zealand
Officer of the Order of New Zealand Merit
Classical CD of the Year (New Zealand, three times)
SOUNZ Contemporary Award (for Composition, two times)

Composer, Orchestrator
Action, Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Educational, Experimental, Horror, Musical / Opera / Dance, Science Fiction
Jazz, Orchestral, Rock, Electronic, World / Ethnic
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John Psathas