EMELEUS, JOHN (b. 1938)

John Emeleus (born 1938 in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland) has an unusual surname originating in Finland. He was very fortunate to have come from a musical family. His father, a scientist, was a fine pianist and John’s earliest musical memories were of his father, playing Beethoven and Schubert piano sonatas. John started to have piano and violin lessons when he was about seven years old. He showed an early interest in writing music, mostly for the piano. When teenagers, John and his brothers and sister, riding bicycles and sleeping in tents, explored the enchanting and inspirational Irish countryside from Donegal to Kerry.
From 1957 to 1961, John attended the Royal Academy of Music in London where he majored in composition under the superb direction of Howard Ferguson and Paul Steinitz. He had his first publication in his second year, settings of poems by Walter de la Mere. He remembers being so thrilled with the proofs, sent to him by Weinbergers, that he had to be reminded to return them. A year of teacher training at London University followed the RAM where Kenneth Simpson, the HOD music at the Institute of Education helped him get a number of songs and a suite for piano published by Lengwicks. John found that writing music for young people was both enjoyable and a challenge. He has maintained this active interest throughout his professional and retirement years. He believes that you write "up" to children and never "down!"
In 1963 John and his bride, Janet, immigrated to New Zealand hoping to work there for five years; this now has become 53 years! John taught music at secondary and tertiary levels following two years of teaching at primary level in London; the following four years as a secondary teacher, and then he worked in the Colleges of Education in Palmerston North and Christchurch where he became HOD Music. John also lectured part time at the University of Canterbury and was later awarded an Adjunct Senior Fellowship.
John believes that his music should be user friendly without compromising his standards. He has been fortunate in that a number of musicians and schools have used his music in New Zealand and Australia. He considers that it is important to compose music for beginner and amateur musicians as well as for more advanced performers. He has written a number of instrumental and vocal compositions that he is more than happy to share with others.
John admires the music of many composers including Bach, Bartok, Stravinsky , Shostakovich, Aaron Copland and George Gershwin. He plays the piano, organ, viola and celtic harp.
John owes a huge debt to Janet for her amazing support and encouragement as their family was uprooted every few years for yet another job for John. Janet and John are singularly fortunate to have their family, includ- ing grandchildren, all living in Christchurch. Roger Buckton has been a friend since 1963 and introduced him to Alliance Publications, Inc. where another musical chapter starts.