John McLachlan was born in Dublin where he studied music at the DIT Conservatory of Music, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College Dublin. As well as piano and musicology, he studied composition with Joseph Groocock, William York, Hormoz Farhat, Robert Hanson and Kevin Volans.
His works have been performed in The U.S.A., South Africa, Japan, Peru, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Moldova, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and around Ireland, with broadcasts in several of these countries. They range from solo instrumental to orchestral music, and have been performed by (among others) the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Opera Theatre Company, the National Chamber Choir, the Degani Quartet, Vox21, Concorde, Sequenza, Traject, Archaeus, Pro Arte, Sepia Ensemble, Antipodes, Ensemble Nordlys, The Fidelio Trio, The ConTempo Quartet and Trio Arbos as well as many prominent soloists including Ian Pace, John Feeley, Darragh Morgan and David Adams.
Career highlights include being a featured composer in the National Symphony Orchestra's Horizons series (2003 and 2008), the National Concert Hall's Composer's Choice series (2004), and representing Ireland at the International Society for Contemporary Music Festivals in Slovenia (2003) and Croatia (2005), the National Arts Festival, South Africa (2006) and the Musica Viva festival, Portugal. (2008). Commissioners include the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Music Network, Lyric fm (for the 2006 AXA Dublin International Piano Competition), the Musica Viva Festival and the National Concert Hall.
His music has been included on the following recordings: AIC CD 001, CMC CD 4, Irish Contemporary Organ Music (David Adams), CMC CD 9, Islands (John Feeley, guitar), Mary Dullea's CD Gothic, and RIAM piano syllabus CDs. The most recent release is Contemporary Irish from the Dublin Guitar Quartet. Many of his pedagogical piano works have been published by the Royal Irish Academy of Music in their piano syllabus anthologies.
He is also known as a broadcaster and writer on contemporary music having presented numerous radio shows on Lyric fm, given public talks on music, and published over 50 articles in Denmark, Britain, Germany, Austria and Ireland (with many in the Journal of Music). He was awarded a PhD in musicology from Trinity College Dublin in 2001 for his work on the relationship between the listener's and composer's perspectives on musical structure in the music of Carter, Xenakis, Boulez and Lutoslawski. As the Executive Director of the Association of Irish Composers from 1998 to 2012 he organised and curated concerts featuring living composers from Ireland and around the world. These have taken place around Ireland and in Britain, Romania, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Belgium, Finland and South Africa. In 2000 he produced the AIC CD November Series. He runs the Irish Composition Summer School currently taking place at Technical University of Dublin each July.
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.
Background: Scott Hayes. Inset: Simon Curran