Artists John Young

John Young was born in Christchurch (New Zealand) in 1962 to English (father) and Italian (mother) parents. He studied at the University of Canterbury, completing a doctorate on the manipulation of environmental sound sources in electroacoustic music. In 1989, with the assistance of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand (now the Creative New Zealand), he travelled to the UK to further his studies of electroacoustic music composition working privately in the studios of the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) with Denis Smalley.

He returned to New Zealand in 1990 to take up a position at Victoria University of Wellington where he became a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Electroacoustic Music Studios. In November 2000 he joined the Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre at De Montfort University in Leicester (UK) where is now Professor of Composition.

His main interest in composition continues to be in acousmatic music, particularly forms based on the interplay between recognizable natural sound sources and computer-based studio transformations, but also combines electroacoustics with instrumental media.

He has a received a number of international awards, including First Prize in the 1996 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award (Sweden) (for his work Inner), a First Prize in the 34th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art Competition (France, 2007) (for Ricordiamo Forlì) and Second Prize in the 4th Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP ’01, Brazil) (for Liquid Sky).

He has been a visiting composer at San Jose State University (CA, USA), Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), the Groupe de recherches musicales (GRM, Paris, France), the iM-PACT Center of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) (MO, USA) and, with the assistance of the Swedish Institute, at EMS (Stockholm, Sweden). He has also given invited concerts and talks at many other places around the world, including well-known BEAST series in Birmingham (UK), at the Ai-maako festival (Santiago, Chile) and Sonoimágenes (Remedios de Escalada / Buenos Aires, Argentina).


John Young

Christchurch (New Zealand), 1962

Residence: Leicester (England, UK)

  • Composer

On the web

John Young [Photo: Amalia Young, Leicester (England, UK), April 7, 2014]
John Young [Photo: Amalia Young, Leicester (England, UK), April 7, 2014]
  • David Berezan, John Young [Manchester (England, UK), October 28, 2012]
  • David Berezan et John Young rehearsing [Photo: Simon Smith, Manchester (England, UK), October 27, 2012]
  • Jonty Harrison; ; John Young; Denis Smalley; William Brunson; Jøran Rudi; Simon Emmerson; John Dack; ; Sean Ferguson at the symposium Form in Electroacoustic Music, Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University (Leicester, England, UK) [Leicester (England, UK), February 20, 2011]
  • John Young with Enrique Belloc during a rehearsal of an “Akousma” concert as part of the Ina-GRM´s Multiphonies series at Salle Olivier Messiaen — Maison de Radio France [Paris (France), April 12, 2008]
  • At the end of the festival Ai-maako 2006 marking the 50th anniversary of electroacoustic music in Chile. At Café Venezia, left to right: Juan Mendoza, John Young, Raúl Minsburg, Alejandro Albornoz, José Miguel Candela, Jorge Sacaan, Paul Rudy, Federico Schumacher Rartti, Cecilia García-Gracia [Santiago (Chile), October 2006]
  • In the Andes, near Santiago (Chile). Left to right: John Young, Paul Rudy, Raúl Minsburg [October 2006]
  • John Young with Argentinian composer Raúl Minsburg (left), in the Andes, near Santiago (Chile) [October 2006]
  • John Young with Francis Dhomont at the Electroacoustic Music Studies Network Conference (EMS05) [Montréal (Québec), October 2005]

Selected works

Main releases

empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0787, IMED 0787_NUM / 2007
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0261, IMED 0261_NUM / 2002


empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0898, IMED 0898_NUM / 2008
empreintes DIGITALes / IMED 0409, IMED 0409_NUM, IMED 9209 / 1992, 2004
Various artists
Studio PANaroma / SPAN 199013216 / 2002


Various artists
Taukay / TAUKAY 163 / 2017
  • Not in catalogue
Innova Recordings / INNOVA 874 / 2013
  • Not in catalogue
  • Not in catalogue
Various artists
Musiques & Recherches / MR 2010 / 2011
  • Out of print
  • Not in catalogue

In the press

De Montfort Academic Wins Music Prize

Anthea Lipsett, The Guardian, July 26, 2007

An academic has won international acclaim for a piece of music he created about his parents’ courtship in Italy during the second world war.

John Young, reader in music technology at De Montfort University in Leicester, won first prize in a competition for electroacoustic music composition organised by the French Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges.

Dr Young’s winning radiophonic work, Ricordiamo Forlì, was created at DMU during research leave. It tells the story of his parents’ courtship towards the end of the second world war.

“My parents met in Forlì in central Italy in 1944: my mother an Italian civilian and my father an 8th Army soldier. Chaperoned by my grandmother, they met as often as they could, and on one of these occasions my mother’s life was probably saved, as that day she was to have visited her sister — whose apartment was destroyed by a bomb at that exact time,” he explained.

“The idea for this work grew out of my first visit to Forlì in 2002, when a lot of the emotional significance of that story resounded for me in an entirely new way. Hearing bells from churches around the city — audible across great distances — gave me a strong sense of experiencing the sounds as something resonant of the place and its history; that these sounds were voices from the past — something permanent, yet alive — evoking a sense of being touched by something that others had experienced with the same immediacy over many years and through dark, violent times,” he said.

He used sounds he recorded in Forlì along with historical broadcasts and war correspondence reports to amplify the wider context of the events, while his father narrated the story. The result is a narrative supported by music developed by digitally transforming many of the sounds into an expanded “surrealised soundscape”.

The work will be released later this year by Empreintes DIGITALes in Montréal.

… international acclaim for a piece of music he created about his parents’ courtship in Italy…