John Hails

John Hails

Dr John Hails

Senior Lecturer

Biography

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.

Research Areas

News

Events

Esteem

Conference Organising Activity

  • Member of Conference Organising Team: Networked Collaborative Processes, Online (June 2021)
  • Member of Conference Organising Team: Living Collaborative Processes, ICMP, London (July 2019)
  • Lead Conference Organiser and Conference Chair: Music and Language. Edinburgh Napier University (June 2018).
  • Conference Chair: RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 5th Annual Conference. Wolverhampton University (May 2017)
  • Conference Chair: Continental Drift. Edinburgh Napier University (July 2016).
  • Conference Chair: Ninth International Conference on Music Since 1900. University of Glasgow (September 2015)
  • Conference Chair: INTIME 2014 Interrogations into Artistic Experimentation. Coventry University (October 2014).

 

External Examining/Validations

  • External Examining: MA by Research. University of Huddersfield. March 2018.

 

Fellowships and Awards

  • Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize (2002) First Prize
  • UK & Eire Composition Platform (2002) Finalist
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

 

Grant Reviewer

  • Reviewer for The Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland

 

Invited Speaker

  • Living Collaborative Processes (RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 7th Annual Conference). ICMP, London. 26 July 2019. 'nine for ones in nine'.
  • Keynote Speaker: Wintersound festival. Sidney Cooper Gallery (Canterbury Christchurch University, January 2018).
  • New Perspectives on the Music of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Canterbury Christ Church University. 2-3 March 2018. 'Listening to Lines of Flight'.
  • Queerness, Voice, Embodiment (2nd Annual Symposium of the LGBTQ+ Music Study Groups). Maynooth University. 20-21 April 2018. Roundtable participant: 'LGBTQ+ Mental Health in University Music Departments'.
  • Queerness, Voice, Embodiment (2nd Annual Symposium of the LGBTQ+ Music Study Groups). Maynooth University. 20-21 April 2018. '"I don't want your body. Jesus doesn't want it...": The rejected transgressive body at the heart of Harry Partch's conceptual universe'.
  • RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 5th Annual Conference. University of Wolverhampton. 20 May 2017. 'for one'.
  • RMA Music and/as Process Study Group 4th Annual Conference. Bath Spa University. 1-2 July 2016. 'On Decalcomania: Organisms and enlightenments'.
  • International Conference of Music Since 1900, Glasgow University, 8th September 2015. ‘Shadows of Sonatas in the Prisons of Invention: New perspectives on formal structures in Ferneyhough’s works of the 1980s’.
  • The Dark Precursor: International Conference on Deleuze and Artistic Research 2015, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium, 11th November 2015. ‘Ceci n’est pas la musique; laying the groundwork for schizoanalyses of the musical act’.
  • 2nd Annual RMA Music and/as Process Study Group Conference. Goldsmiths, University of London. 6 June 2015. 'EMG'.
  • London Conference of Critical Thought, UCL, 27/06/2015. ‘Let’s kill the audience: a manifesto for art music in the 21st century’.
  • Music from the Perspective of Globalization (MUSICA PRATICA, MUSICA THEORETICA XI), Akademia Muzynczna im. I. J. Paderewskiego w Poznaniu, Poznań, Poland, 8th April 2014. ‘Harry Partch as Maker of Multicultural Artefacts; Harry Partch as Maker of Supracultural Artefacts'.
  • Music and shared imaginaries: nationalisms, communities, and choral singing. Aveiro University, Portugal, 1st November 2014. ‘Performing the Scratch Orchestra's Nature Study Notes: creating and exploring a third sphere through improvised communal action’.
  • INTIME 2014: Interrogations into Artistic Experimentation. Coventry University. 18 October 2014. '"Hearing" voices; inaudible and invisible notations within experimental music practice'.
  • Memory in Post-1908s Music: History, Form, Perception. University of York. 22 February 2014. 'Shadows of sonatas in the prisons of invention: new perspectives on formal structures in Ferneyhough's works of the 1980s'.
  • Word Event: a verbal notation symposium, Bath Spa University, 21st September 2011. ‘”That was great, but it wasn’t Stockhausen!”; Issues of authenticity and performance practice in text notation of Karlheinz Stockhausen.’
  • The Engine Room Conference (A celebration of the life, works and legacy of Cornelius Cardew), 11th December 2011. ‘Maps and tracings, tree root and branch; relationships between single works in Cardew’s oeuvre.’
  • University of Edinburgh, Guest Lecture series, 29th September 2011. ‘Analysing the music of Harry Partch; why should we, and how should we?’

 

Media Activity

  • Article (Who Should We Thank for the Revival of Experimental Music?), The Conversation

 

Public Engagement Activity

  • Performance: For Philip Guston (included performances in Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and St James Artspace) 2013
  • Public performances (Music for the Galleries – included performances at all Scottish National Gallery venues).

 

Reviewing

  • Journal reviewer: Journal of International Medical Health . 2020-2022
  • Journal Reviewer: Journal of Arts and Communities. 2016-2017.

 

Date


18 results

Sleepwalkers, Beware: Towards a Post-Structuralist Critique of Popular Music in Higher Education

Book Chapter
Moir, Z., & Hails, J. (2019)
Sleepwalkers, Beware: Towards a Post-Structuralist Critique of Popular Music in Higher Education. In Z. Moir, B. Powell, & G. Dylan Smith (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Handbook of Popular Music Education: Perspectives and PracticesLondon and New York: Bloomsbury Publishing
No abstract available.

enlightenment

Other
Hails, J. (2016)
enlightenment. London, UK
Musical work for solo or duo microtonal trumpet(s) and fixed media.

Nine for ones in nine: a schizophrenic cyborg love story.

Presentation / Conference
Hails, J. (2016, April)
Nine for ones in nine: a schizophrenic cyborg love story. Paper presented at Edinburgh Napier Staff Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland
By appropriating the images of the schizophrenic and the cyborg from Deleuze and Guattari, and from Donna Haraway respectively, this paper seeks to discuss the relationship be...

for one

Other
Hails, J. (2016)
for one. Print manuscript in the possession of the composer
Musical work (duration 19') for oneunspecified melodic sustaining instrument. Work employs specific tuning related to just intervals.

for three

Other
Hails, J. (2015)
for three. Print manuscript in possession of composer
Musical work (duration 41') for three unspecified melodic sustaining instruments. Work employs specific tuning related to just intervals.

Performing the Scratch Orchestra's Nature Study Notes: creating and exploring a third sphere through improvised communal action.

Conference Proceeding
Hails, J. (2014)
Performing the Scratch Orchestra's Nature Study Notes: creating and exploring a third sphere through improvised communal action
In June 2014, a disparate group of trained and untrained performers gathered together at the Chisenhale Dance Space to perform items from the Scratch Orchestra’s 1969 Nature S...

Sh

Other
Hails, J. (2014)
Sh. Edinburgh, Scotland
Sh is a work for solo guitar that lasts around three minutes.

enlightenment

Other
Hails, J. (2014)
enlightenment
Work for solo harp with optional fixed media. Written for harpist Milana Zaric to play and dedicated to the memory of the poet Simon Howard. First performance on 24th March 20...

Pied Beauty.

Other
Hails, J. (2014)
Pied Beauty. Edinburgh, Scotland
Composition for soprano and two scordatura violas (alternatively, for soprano and stereo fixed media playback)

EMG

Other
Hails, J. (2012)
EMG. Edinburgh, Scotland
Work for solo piano requested and first performed by Nicholas Ashton. This work samples vertical chord structures from an earlier piece for piano (EVEN MORE GEESE), which itse...

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects

Non-Napier PhD or MSc by Research supervisions

  • Rezaei, M. 2016. Portfolio of Compositions. PhD. Durham University.