John Kefala Kerr is a composer, sound artist and writer. A prize-winning graduate of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the University of Sussex, John has had work presented at festivals and venues in the UK, USA, Europe and Japan, including the Cathedral of St John the Divine, New York; Wigmore Hall; St John’s Smith Square; South Bank Centre, London; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Select 107 FM; Teatro Rossini, Pesaro; Atelier St Ann, Brussels and De Singel, Antwerp.
John’s output includes instrumental, vocal, and multimedia works. These are often conceived in close proximity to everyday events, situations and circumstances. His cycle of four site-specific performances, Beyond Belief, was commissioned in the wake of the Cumbrian foot and mouth crisis and featured a cast of over 100 professional and non-professional performers and sound-makers: including singers, magicians, piano tuners and gardeners.
John is a past recipient of the Dio Award, the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust Contemporary Music Prize and the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival Composer’s Prize. In 2003 he received the UK Arts Council Encore Award, and in 2006 his work for orchestra and mixed chorus, Panagia, won the gold medal in the symphony orchestra category of the Volos International Composition Competition.
John’s recent work includes Eight Bells, an elegy for violin and soundtrack developed in collaboration with marine scientists at the Dove Marine Laboratory and a ‘sound opera’ (A Sign in Space) commissioned by Durham Cathedral, which received a Journal Culture Award in 2012. His debut novel, Thimio’s House, was published by Perfect Edge Books in December 2013. John’s site-specific sound installation, Book of Bells, was specially developed for the Lindisfarne Gospels Exhibition in 2013 and his multimedia opera, Steamsong, for the National Railway Museum, was a double finalist in the Journal Culture Awards in 2014. John’s reworking of Blow the Wind Southerly (2013) for 6 choirs, commissioned by Festival of the North, includes a setting of the Met Office shipping forecast. John recently completed a year as Composer-in-Residence in Newcastle’s historic Grainger Market.