John Spence was born in Dungannon in Northern Ireland in 1965. He came to Australia the following year. Spence studied composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music graduating in 1989. His teachers include Gillian Whitehead, Martin Wesley Smith, Graham Hair. He has continued studying with Greg Schiemer in recent years at the University of Wollongong.
Spence has composed music for a variety of mediums. After completing his degree he wrote a number of chamber works including his second string quartet and a sonata for piano/harpsichord. His first symphonic work Sola Gratia was composed in 1993.
In 2003 Spence’s work for flute ensemble Waltzing the boiling billy was premiered by the Wollongong Conservatorium Flute Ensemble at a flute convention in LA. In 2004 he wrote an orchestral overture for the Viva la Gong Festival. His orchestral work The Money Box (2005) was composed for the 200th anniversary of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday. Some of his chamber works have featured on recordings of Australian works published by Wirripang and performed by David Miller and various associate artists including Mark Walton and Emma Knott.
He has also produced electronic and electro-acoustic works. His recent collection entitled The Absentee Performer consists of early electronic music created with analogue based electronics as well as new works focusing on microtonality using traditional orchestral instrumentalists with computer assisted electronics.
Spence is a producer, arranger and session musician working at Studios 301 and Albert Recording Studios working across many different genres. He also teaches harmony and composition at the Wollongong Conservatorium.
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