John McLachlan

07 John McL

‘The Irish problem is not one of fostering talent. It is one of holding on to it.’

John McLachlan was born in Dublin where he studied music at the Dublin Institute of Technology Conservatory of Music and Drama, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College Dublin, where he earned a PhD in musicology. He also studied composition with Joseph Groocock, William York, Hormoz Farhat, Robert Hanson and Kevin Volans. McLachlan’s works range from solo instrumental to orchestral music and have been extensively broadcast and performed worldwide by (among others) the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, the National Chamber Choir, the Degani Quartet, Vox21, Concorde, Sequenza, Traject, Archaeus, Pro Arte, Antipodes, Ensemble Nordlys, the Fidelio Trio, the ConTempo Quartet and Trio Arbos. He has been a featured composer in the National Symphony Orchestra’s Horizons series, the National Concert Hall’s Composer’s Choice series, the National Arts Festival (South Africa) and the Musica Viva festival (Portugal). He has represented Ireland at the International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals in Slovenia and Croatia. Commissioners include the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Music Network, Lyric fm (for the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition), the Musica Viva Festival and the National Concert Hall. McLachlan is well known as a musicologist, broadcaster and writer on contemporary music having published over 50 articles in Denmark, Britain, Germany, Austria and Ireland. As the Executive Director of the Association of Irish Composers he has curated concerts featuring living composers from Ireland and around the world. In 2007 he was elected to Aosdána, the state-sponsored academy of the creative arts. He lives in Inishowen, Donegal, with his wife and two sons.

Photograph: Benjamin Dwyer. John McLachlan, in Grogan’s Bar, Dublin, 22 April 2014.

See also:

Selected works

Here Be Dragons – organ version (2001 rev. 2003)


Radical Roots – string trio version (2003)


Ghost Machine (2004) for violin and piano


Grand Action (2005) for piano


Octala (2007) for orchestra


Wonder (2008) for ensemble


Golden Circle (2011) for ensemble and tape


For a selection of John McLachlan’s writings for the Journal of Music: see