John S. Gray

(b. 18 January 1953, Halifax, Nova Scotia).

Canadian composer of mostly chamber, piano and electroacoustic works that have been performed in North America.

Mr. Gray is self-taught as a composer. He studied piano privately in Halifax from 1959–69.

He is also active in other positions. As a pianist, he made his début in 1960. He sang as a chorister in the King's College School Chapel Choir from 1966–69 and the Dalhousie Chorale in Nova Scotia in 1974–75. He worked with the ensemble Murphy's Law from 1975–78 and served as an interim director of the Experimental Sound Studio in 1979. He established the studio Life Force Productions in Halifax in 1980 and later worked for the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto.


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Waiting for Dinner (incidental music), 1978, revised 1994


Untitled, string orchestra, 1992

Episodes for Orchestra, 2003

Introduction and Autumn Prelude, 2004 (expanded version of Autumn Prelude)

Sinfonia d'espoir, large orchestra, 2005


Elegy, flute, French horn, double bass, piano, 1973

Drunk Jam, The Third Take, 2 synthesizers, 1975

Journeys without Direction, synthesizer, percussion, fixed media, 1976, revised 1990

Rievaulx, 2 trumpets (1st + vibraphone), electric guitar, double bass, piano (+ synthesizer), 2 percussion, 1977–78

Witness to the Holocaust, synthesizer, 1980

Untitled, ensemble, fixed media, 1985

Untitled, synthesizer, fixed media, 1986

A3W-1, oboe, bassoon, piano, 1987

Pastoral Sequence, synthesizer, 1987

A Hearing in Our Time, synthesizer, fixed media, 1988

Fire Flux, synthesizer, 1990

4W-1, oboe, bassoon, violin, piano, 1991–93 (also version for flute, bassoon, violin, 1993)

Autumn Prelude (original title Advent Prelude), bassoon, violin, harmonium, 1996 (also expanded version as Introduction and Autumn Prelude, orchestra)

Andante in C minor, oboe, bassoon, violin, viola, organ, 2002 (version of work for piano)

Le Vernissage, flute ad libitum, oboe, bassoon, 2 French horns, electric guitar, violin, viola, cello, organ, MIDI-keyboard, 2002

Three Old Friends, any 3 players, 2002

Promenade, flute, violin, viola, cello, piano, 2004

Steps to the Setting Sun, flute, clarinet, MIDI-keyboard, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, 2005

Clarinet Quintet, clarinet, string quartet, 2005


Little Cantata for Christmas Eve (text from the Book of Luke), mezzo-soprano, baritone, bassoon, violin, harmonium, 1995


Improvisation on the 5'9" Baldwin, 1977

Improvisations, 1981

Hauskonzert, piano (+ synthesizer), 1983

The Big Slow C Major Improvisation with Sostenuto Trick, 1983

Improvisation for David Nos. 12, 1984

The Big B-flat Improvisation, 1984

Consolation, 1985

This Subsequent Time, 1986

Benediction, 1986

This Immediate Time, 1986

Benediction Variations, 1987

Improvisation for Chris and Diane, 1990

Fantasie, Minuet and Trio, 1997

Andante in C minor, 1998–99 (also version for oboe, bassoon, violin, viola, organ)

Three Late-Night Improvisations on the Steinway A-3, 1999

Morning Improvisation on the Steinway A-3, 1999

The 29 March 1999 Piano Piece, 1999

The 10 April 2000 Piano Piece, 2000


Lenten Prelude, 1997


Exercises on the Modes, Continued, fixed media, 1974

The First CDKU Jingle, fixed media, 1979

The Nova Scotia Tattoo Synthesizer Piece, fixed media, 1979

D3W-1, fixed media, 1981

Igor's 99th, fixed media, 1981

Belinda's O, fixed media, 1981

Sergeant Bluepetal's Dream, fixed media, 1981

Tea Time, fixed media, 1981

By Appointment to Her Majesty, Blended in Scotland, fixed media, 1981

Glory Be!, fixed media, 1981

Afterthought, fixed media, 1981

Coda, fixed media, 1981

D3W-2, fixed media, 1982

Music for Art Galleries No. 1, fixed media, 1979–83 (its four sections may be performed separately: Dinner Music One, 1979; Lamentation, 1981; Reflection, 1981; 23:41.1, 1983)

Venezia, fixed media, 1984

No Radio, fixed media, 1984

The D minor Harpsichord Construction, fixed media, 1984

Music for Art Galleries, Volume 1.1, fixed media, 1984 (one section may be performed separately: Embers)

Peregrine, fixed media, 1985

Preconsolation, fixed media, 1987

Der Abschied, fixed media, 1987

Music for Art Galleries No. 2, fixed media, 1991

Music for Art Galleries No. 3, fixed media, 1996

Music for Art Galleries No. 4, fixed media, 1996

Music for Art Galleries No. 5, fixed media, 1997


Perspectives, 1980 (Floyd Gillis)

Time Lines, 1981 (Floyd Gillis)

Atomic Dragons, 1981 (James MacSwain)

Flower, 1985 (James MacSwain)


Glory Be!; D3W-1; Belinda's O; Sergeant Bluepetal's Dream; Witness to the Holocaust; Tea Time; By Appointment to Her Majesty, Blended in Scotland; Igor's 99th (excerpt); Recent Works/8 PM (excerpt); Rievaulx; concert (2 excerpts). John S. Gray, piano, synthesizer; ensemble (CSM: 001, 1981) (cassette)

Lamentation; Afterthought; Reflection; Dinner Music One; Coda. (CSM: 002, 1986) (cassette)

Venezia; 23:41.1; Improvisation for David No. 1; Hauskonzert. John S. Gray, piano, synthesizer (CSM: 003, 1986) (cassette)

Improvisation on the 5'9" Baldwin; Journeys without Direction; Drunk Jam, The Third Take. John S. Gray, piano, synthesizer (CSM: 005, 2000) (cassette)

Three Late-Night Improvisations on the Steinway A-3; Morning Improvisation on the Steinway A-3; Andante in C minor (original version); The 29 March 1999 Piano Piece; The 10 April 2000 Piano Piece. John S. Gray, piano (CSM: 006, 2000) (cassette)

9 improvisations. John S. Gray, piano (CSM: 007, 2002)