Before coming to Surrey John taught and led modules at University of Liverpool, Goldsmiths, LIPA and ICMP. John has performed in ensembles with Dustin Wong, Sharon Gal, Cavalier Song, Rhys Chatham, Howard Skempton and the aPAtT Orchestra. McGrath has been commissioned to write for the IMMIX ensemble and performed new music alongside large arrangements of his work with the group. As a solo performer John has performed at a number of festivals and has supported Richard Dawson, Gwenifer Raymond, Laraaji and Sun Araw. Recent appearances include a solo set at King’s Place, London. McGrath’s compositions have been featured in The Wire, RTE Radio 1, BBC Radio, aired on several television programmes, and sounded at Tate Modern and FACT.
His research is concerned with how one format or artform can flow into and influence another. His monograph Samuel Beckett, Repetition and Modern Music (Routledge, 2018) explores the interactions and cross-pollination of music and literature while other publications investigate the transmedial work of Laurie Anderson and David Lynch in addition to popular music and digital aesthetics in folk-horror. In 2014, John was awarded a PhD in music from University of Liverpool, which was funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council. John is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a consultant for guitar pedagogy on Learn to Play: Computational Assessment of Musical Playability for Users’ Practice (AHRC). He is Deputy Director of the International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC) and is currently co-editing the collection 21st Century Guitar for Bloomsbury.