Born in Cirencester in 1954, John Woolrich is a much commissioned and frequently performed composer, a creative teacher and an original programmer.
His practical approach to music making is exemplified in the Composers Ensemble and the festival Hoxton New Music Days, both of which he founded; in 1994 he was appointed the first Composer in Association to the Orchestra of St John's, a post he held until 2000. His successful collaborations with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group led to his appointment in the 2002/3 season as their Artistic Associate. He was Guest Artistic Director of the Aldeburgh Festival in 2004 and has been Associate Artistic Director of the festival since 2005
A number of preoccupations thread through his varied output: the art of creative transcription - Ulysses Awakes, for instance, is a recomposition of a Monteverdi aria, and The Theatre Represents a Garden: Night is based on fragments of Mozart - and a fascination with machinery and mechanical processes, heard in many pieces including The Ghost in the Machine and The Barber's Timepiece.
Throughout the 1990s, Woolrich had a string of prestigious orchestral commissions which resulted in some of his most important works: his concertos for viola, oboe and cello. NMC's disc of the viola and oboe concertos and The Ghost in the Machine attracted particular attention. Si va facendo notte was commissioned by the Barbican Centre to celebrate the Mozart European Journey Project; and in 2001, Woolrich undertook a music theatre commission from BCMG and Trestle Theatre Company which resulted in Bitter Fruit, a masque for mime actors and ensemble.
Recent pieces include Between the Hammer and the Anvil for the London Sinfonietta and a violin concerto for Carolin Widmann.