John Charles


John Charles has composed distinctive scores for some major New Zealand movies, including Goodbye Pork Pie, Utu, and The Quiet Earth. He’s an arranger, pianist, freelance composer – and was the pianist with BLERTA for a time.

He has also been a TV director, head of entertainment programmes for TV One (New Zealand), producer of children’s programmes for ABC-TV in Sydney, composer-in-residence at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, and he has taught in their screen composition department. He says it’s the variety he really liked.

The God Boy (1976)
John Charles recording music for the TV series Cereal, in HMV Studios, Wakefield St, Wellington, late 1969; other musicians included Geoff Murphy and Bruno Lawrence. Cereal was a children's programme written and directed by Derek Morton.
Photo credit: Derek Morton Collection
Utu (1983)
Constance (1983)
Tank Busters (1970)
Wild Man (1977)
Goodbye Pork Pie (1981)
John Charles accompanying Malcolm McNeill, Lane Cove Country Club, northwest Sydney, 2005
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
John Charles on keyboards, with Jonathan Crayford, bass, and Bruno Lawrence on drums. Waimarama, c. 1993. 
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
John Charles, at the piano, with the Mell-O-Tones at the Orpheum Theatre in Sydney, 9 September 2012.
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
Heart of the High Country (1985)
John Charles rehearsing with Malcolm McNeill, 2005. 
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
John Charles, top right, with the Savoy Quintet, Sydney, 2001.
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
Blerta Revisited (2001)
John Charles recording music for the TV series Cereal, in HMV Studios, Wakefield St, Wellington, late 1969; at right is Bruno Lawrence. Cereal was a children's programme written and directed by Derek Morton.
Photo credit: Derek Morton Collection
John Charles, at the piano, with two other Mell-O-Tones at the Orpheum Theatre in Sydney, 9 September 2012.
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
If You're In It, You're In It To The Limit (1972)
Numero Bruno (2000)
The Quiet Earth (1985)
At the premiere of Utu, director Geoff Murphy and his wife, Pat (in front), and - stepping down from the carriage - film composer John Charles and his wife, Judy; Napier, 31 January 1983. 
Photo credit: Barry Durrant
Fallout - part one (1994)
Malcolm McNeill, John Charles, and Bruno Lawrence, 1994. 
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
John Charles, front right with clarinet, and the Mell-O-Tones, Sydney, 2012. 
Photo credit: John Charles Collection
John Charles. - sounz.org.nz

Funded by

Partners with