John Lely writes music and words, plays objects and electronics, and curates music events.

John is interested in the variety of sounds, correspondences and experiences that can emerge through the use of limited sets of musical building blocks. His pieces explore sound, silence, proportion, process, perception and listening.

His work has been influenced by associations with Antoine Beuger, Alvin Lucier, Christian Wolff, Michael Parsons, Tom Johnson, Manfred Werder, Taylan Susam and Laurence Crane, among many others.

John’s music is performed internationally by soloists and groups. Formative and ongoing collaborations include work with the musicians of Apartment House, the Bozzini Quartet and the Edges ensemble.

He is co-author, with James Saunders, of Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation (Continuum 2012), a book about text scores.

Together with composers Tim Parkinson and Markus Trunk he curates Music We’d Like to Hear, a concert series described by TEMPO as ‘an oasis of thoughtful and idealistic music-making’.


Current and upcoming projects include a new double bass piece with Michael Duch, a new cello piece with Gregor Riddell, and Music We’d Like to Hear 2016.