“My music is a manifestation of the perceived world beyond traditional time paradigms. A sonic magic unfolding in constant diversity”
John Palmer’s compositional techniques vary from work to work, from the application of vigorous methodologies to the most spontaneous unfolding of musical ideas based on pure intuition. Much of John Palmer’s music is characterized by a distinct awareness of sound in relation to time and space; a sensitivity for subtle transformations of timbre combined with a highly individual perception of space and quasi-silence. The latter proposing psychological and spiritual dimensions articulated beyond any stylistic clichè.
Palmer is a British composer with a strongly international background. He studied piano and composition and worked mainly on mainland Europe until 1990 when he returned to London. In the mid-seventies he began to compose and perform as a pianist songwriter, and directed several groups of experimental music and jazz. Since the mid-eighties he has focused on instrumental, orchestral, vocal and chamber music, and in the early nineties he extended his compositional interests with electroacoustic resources.
Palmer graduated in Piano Studies from the Conservatory of Music in Lucerne, Switzerland, studied composition with Edison Denisov and Vinko Globokar. In London he studied Composition at Trinity College of Music and completed a PhD in Composition at City University. He also studied composition with Jonathan Harvey and conducting with Alan Hazeldine at the Guildhall School of Music. His music has been awarded prizes in London (1990 and 1995), Lucerne (1991), Bourges (1994), Tokyo (1996), Klagenfurt (1996), Udine (2010), Paris (2012), and has been released on Animato Records, ORF, Presque Rien Prize Edition. Taukay, Sargasso, Elektroshock Records, Living Artists, and Mnemosyne Synthese.
From the late 1970s to 1985 John Palmer performed as a songwriter and played in several groups of experimental music in England, Italy and Switzerland. Since 1985 he has focused on composition for instrumental, orchestral, vocal and chamber music, and in the early nineties he extended his compositional interests with electronics. Since the early nineties Zen, and Buddhist philosophy in general, has become an additional source of inspiration.
“For me music is a vehicle of thought, perception and emotion; a deeper feeling and understanding of life unfolding in me and around me. Beyond the duality of right and wrong, light and dark, black and white, I perceive a fundamental unity where all expressions of an individual are confluent in a living reality; where past and future co-exist in the unbounded mystery of the ‘now’.
I am instinctively searching for creative connections between art, mind and spirit, and composition has become an all-encompassing experience, both physical and metaphysical, sensual and spiritual. Similar to Eastern meditation, the music I write springs from my inner centre and the perception of an enigmatic sensuality of sound, space and the quasi-silence. After many years, I still discover that music is the most powerful expression of this evolution.”
John Palmer © 2012