photo: Nigel Foote

Composer John Summers began his professional composing career in 1973, writing music and stage pieces for Pageant Theatre, a touring company traveling around both primary and high schools, visiting virtually every town in the states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria. Production and scenarios ranged from original skits and traditional stories set to music and dance for primary schools, to setting curriculum poetry (Shakespeare, Eliot, McGough, etc) to music, and performing curriculum plays (classical, contemporary and original). This was a full time position for five years. 

Then, in 1978, he was appointed composer, writer-creator, and musical director of a 13-part children’s television series called Wayzgoose for ABC Television in Sydney. 

In 1982 he was appointed composer in residence by the North Queensland Regional Arts Association. This involved teaching music theory and performance techniques to group classes of all ages, teaching songwriting and organizing local and regional songwriting workshops and competitions. 

After making a living as a working musician (which included much theater work, including the first concerts performed in the Sydney Opera House), Summers moved to Cambridge UK in 1987, where he developed an alternative career as an audio technician. 

Back in Sydney in 1991, he continued to write for various ensemble combinations, which included writing for string quartet, wind ensembles, and vocal works including several song cycles. In 1995 Summers built and ran Lee Street Studios in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, specializing in recording acoustic and classical music. The business is still operating as of recently.

Albums

Quadrants Vol. 4

Release Date: January 13, 2023
Catalog Number: NV6483
21st Century
Chamber
Vocal Music
String Quartet
Voice
QUADRANTS VOL. 4 comes as the fourth installment of Navona's acclaimed series of string quartet recordings by contemporary composers. This time, a variety of ensembles perform a selection of pieces by Daniel Gil, Jacob E. Goodman, John Summers, Sami Seif, and Judith Lang Zaimont. Like its predecessors, QUADRANTS VOL. 4 presents musical creations that are highly structured, thoroughly conceptualized and profoundly cerebral, drawing upon subject matters as diverse as Kabbalistic philosophy, English urban poetry, and Arabic cultural identity, among others. Often the result of years-long toil, these compositions are by no means easy to perform – but each ensemble masterfully succeeds with virtuosic panache.

Playing on the Edge 2

Release Date: October 23, 2020
Catalog Number: NV6315
21st Century
Chamber
String Quartet
PLAYING ON THE EDGE 2 follows up Navona Records' first Gramophone-lauded album in this series for string quartet. Like the first installment, the award-winning Sirius Quartet plays the entire catalogue to perfection.