John Wyre

John (Harvey) Wyre. Percussionist, composer, teacher, b Philadelphia 17 May 1941, naturalized Canadian 1972; B MUS (ESM, Rochester) 1963. He studied percussion 1956-9 with Fred Hinger of the Philadelphia Orchestra and 1959-64 with William Street at the ESM, Rochester, NY.

Wyre, John

John (Harvey) Wyre. Percussionist, composer, teacher, b Philadelphia 17 May 1941, naturalized Canadian 1972; B MUS (ESM, Rochester) 1963. He studied percussion 1956-9 with Fred Hinger of the Philadelphia Orchestra and 1959-64 with William Street at the ESM, Rochester, NY. He played 1964-5 with the Oklahoma City SO and 1965-6 with the Milwaukee SO and served 1966-71 and 1975-81 as timpanist with the TS. He was timpanist with the COC orchestra 1985-8, and beginning in 1987 has been acting principal timpanist with the Boston SO on many occasions. He was percussionist for the 1989 Scotia Festival in Halifax. As artistic director for World Drums, Wyre initiated and organized World Drum festivals, first as the Supercussion event at the 1984 Toronto International Festival, then for Expo 86 in Vancouver (documented on the Rhombus Media 1987 film World Drums, now available on video - NFB 113C-0187-117), at the 1987 Vancouver Commonwealth Conference, at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, and at Expo 88 in Australia. He was a founder of I Ching (1969-70) and of Nexus in 1971 and began to appear as percussionist with NMC in 1972. He was an instructor 1967-9 with the NYO and 1971-4 at the University of Toronto.

Wyre's compositions, many of them commissioned works, have been performed in Canada, Japan and the USA. These include Utau Kane No Wa (1974) and Bernie (1976) both for the Festival Singers, Mind the Wind (1982) for Judy Loman, First Flower (1984) for the NYO, and Maruba (1987) for Beverley Johnston. Connexus (1977) was commissioned by the CBC and premiered by the TS in 1978. It has also been performed by the New York Philharmonic (1984) and the Cleveland Orchestra (1988). Wyre has performed as soloist in his own composition Bells (1970) with both the Japan Philharmonic (1970) and the TS (1972). His compositions are published by his own firm, Malarkey Music. He has been an accompanist on recordings by the Lyric Arts Trio (CBC SM-148) and Maureen Forrester (Centrediscs CMC-1283). In 1982 he participated in a recording, Here the Sounds Go Round/Reflexions Sur Le Son, for an exhibition of musical manuscripts and sound sculpture by R. Murray Schafer. In March 1984 he provided the accompaniment for Patrick Watson's readings of The Book of Job at the NAC.


Further Reading

  • Schulman, Michael. 'Bells both realistic and mystical to percussionist,' MSc, 272, Jul-Aug 1973

    Brooks, Iris. 'The World Drum Festival,' Modern Percussion, vol 3, Dec 1986-Feb 1987

    Jennings, Nicholas. 'Drums across the planet,' Maclean's, 29 Feb 1988