John Andrew's compositions are investigations of social relationships. For John Andrew, the social is not simply restricted to the living or the human, but rather looks across time, and looks to connect us to other species and beings. His projects bring us into contact with such diverse mediums and bodies as codfish, broken tape machines, German baroque literature, and hands. John Andrew often participates in the performance of his own work, and these works often include improvisation and chance elements.
John Andrew works often with opera. Opera for John Andrew offers a format to explore the theater of history, which includes history as a system of signs and objects, a completely external humanity which tends towards the utopian directed towards the living & history as a phantasmagoria of human desires projected onto the dead. John Andrew's work problematizes our engagement with historical material and forms: not only musical forms, but also larger aesthetic forms such as the archive and the museum.
John Andrew has completed 3 operas and is currently finishing a commission from The Norwegian National Opera. Two operas are collaborations with author Finn Iunker, and John Andrew is currently writing an opera about the Paris Commune with Iunker, and composer Bernhard Bornstein. Excerpts of this work have been shown at Brecht Tage 2021.
Links to excerpts:
Double Bass Works
John Andrew is developing a new way of playing the double bass. By using both hands on the fingerboard, john is able to achieve pianistic agility while sounding up to four simultaneous bi-tones. John is exploring the harmonic implications of these bi-tone relations, and how they fit with and/or alter the harmonic relationships of the strings in fourths tuning. John Andrew also is exploring how these techniques relate to other musical languages such as jazz and american folk music. John Andrew has installed pickups in his fingerboard in order to be able to amplify and record these bi-tone relationship.
In much of his work, John Andrew uses microphones and pickups in order to make audible hidden relationships and facts. In addition to using microphones in his operas and double bass work, John Andrew is currently working on recordings in the city of Paris, as well as a sound installation of codfish mating calls. Johns work, besides leading to artistic works, contributes directly to other fields. Read more about how "Torsketromming" (cod drumming) is breaking ground in both music and science:
Follow our Codfish project on instagram.
John Andrew has written works for, among other things harpsichord, symphony orchestra, jazz ensemble, antique objects, and unusual quartets. See the soundcloud list in the top right of the page for samples.
John writes and prepares music for scenekunst as well
John enjoys collaboration, and nearly all of John's work involves collaboration. Scenekunst is a way of collaborating in an external way which John finds very inspiring.
Here are some example links to a few productions:
Gold in All My Veins, by Carima Neusser, Sara Gurevitsch, Carola Uehlken, and John Andrew Wilhite in Outokumpu, Finland.
Finn Iunker's Føniks 4 at METEOR 2017, Bergen, Norway.