John McLachlan was born in Dublin and studied music at the DIT Conservatory of Music, the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Trinity College Dublin, where he majored in composition and gained a PhD in Musicology. He pursued further composition studies with Robert Hanson and Kevin Volans.
He has received commissions from RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, RTÉ lyric fm, Music Network, the National Concert Hall, and The Música Viva Festival (Portugal) among others. His works have been performed by many leading contemporary music groups and soloists, including ConTempo Quartet, Antipodes, Archaeus, Crash Ensemble, Chamber Choir Ireland, Vox21, Concorde, Trio Arbos, Sequenza, Pro Arte, The Fidelio Trio, David Adams, Darragh Morgan, John Feeley, Ian Pace, Paul Roe, Satoko Inoue and Mary Dullea.
His works have been performed in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Peru, Japan, New Zealand, Finland, Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Slovenia and around Ireland and have been broadcast on national radio stations in several European countries. He has represented Ireland in major festivals in Slovenia, Croatia, South Africa, Portugal and Peru and has featured in Irish concert series such as Horizons, Composers’ Choice and Mostly Modern. His music has been included on the following recording anthologies: AIC CD 1, CMC’s Contemporary Music from Ireland Volumes 4 and 9, Irish Contemporary Organ Music (David Adams), Islands (John Feeley, guitar), Gothic (Mary Dullea, piano) and RIAM piano syllabus CDs. In addition, he has two releases dedicated to his work on Farpoint Recordings: First (from 2021, with performances from The RTE Symphony Orchestra among others) and Drinking the Stars, a double CD of his solo piano music performed by Mary Dullea and released in 2023.
He is also known as a broadcaster and writer on contemporary music, with publications in Ireland, Denmark, Britain, Austria and Germany.
John McLachlan is currently an administrator of the Irish Composition Summer School and former Executive Director of the Association of Irish Composers (1999-2012). He is a member of Aosdána, Ireland’s state-sponsored academy of creative artists. He lives in Inishowen, Donegal, with his wife Helen Haughey.