Sub Navigation


Main picture for
  • John Charles

  • Born: 1940
  • Fully Represented SOUNZ Composer


John Charles was born in Wellington, New Zealand on November 4 1940 and educated there. In 1958 he enrolled for an arts degree at Victoria University of Wellington, joined University Jazz Club, and began playing regularly. He successfully completed his first year studies, but left university to work as a journalist for Evening Post, Wellington. In 1961 he joined NZBS Television as Programme Officer, and re-commenced university study now enrolled for a BMus. In 1964 he began work for the Government Tourist and Publicity, Information Section 1964. He married Judith Robins in 1965 and graduated BMus 1966 and rejoined NZBC-TV, becoming a producer in 1967. His two sons were born in 1969 and 1970.

In 1974 he moved to Sydney and joined ABC-TV Music Department. In 1978 he returned to Wellington for two years as Head of Entertainment Programmes for Television One, but returned to ABC-TV in 1980 and moved to Children’s Programmes 1981. Since 1985 he has worked as a freelance composer, arranger, pianist and TV director based in Sydney. In 1996 he was Composer in Residence at the Australian Film Television and Radio School. He now teaches in the AFTRS Screen Composition Department.

[Information about John Charles and his music for film and television can also be found on the NZ Onscreen website.]

Source: John Charles, June 2007

Selected Works

Five Maori Songs for Maori choir and orchestra  
Four New Zealand Songs for voice and piano  
Harry's Ramble for orchestra  
Iris music for film  
Spooked for small orchestra, for feature film  
The Quiet Earth orchestral music for film produced by Don Reynolds and directed by Geoff Murphy for Cinepro  
The Turning Wheel a song cycle for voice and piano  
Three Folksong Arrangements for low voice and piano  
Utu suite for orchestra adapted from incidental music for the film Utu (1982)  


Shopping Cart