John Hails is a Senior Lecturer and Reader in Music at Edinburgh Napier University, where he teaches aesthetics, music psychology, composition, and ethnomusicology. He began his training at Durham University and the University of Huddersfield. He returned to Durham to read for a PhD by Portfolio of Compositions with Fabrice Fitch, which he received in 2008. His teachers have included Nicholas Bannen, Paul Archbold, Deidre Gribben, Christopher Fox, and Fabrice Fitch, but over the course of his training he was also taught by Brian Ferneyhough, Richard Barrett, Michael Finnissy, and Stuart Macrae amongst others.
John’s music has been performed by the Orlando Consort, the London Sinfonietta, Heather Roche, Sarah Watts, Nicholas Ashton, and Yan Lim. It has been performed in the Purcell Room, South Bank; at the 2008 Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt; at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival; commissioned by the Friends of the Cheltenham International Festival of Music for the 2001 festival; and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. At present, he is focusing on a series of chamber works exploiting various unorthodox intonations and developing fixed media and installation (real and virtual) work.
In addition to composition, John presents ideas about aesthetics, notation, and ethnomusicology at conferences within the UK and further afield, focusing on marginal and alienated/alienating musical practices within the art music of the last hundred years.