About John Mills-Cockell

Marigolds, a previously unreleased recording by pioneering Canadian group Syrinx, is one of the outstanding tracks that will be part of the upcoming retrospective: “Pangalactic Performer”, a 3-disc set spanning a decade of Syrinx synthesist John Mills-Cockell’s work, both with the band and on other projects. Video of “Marigolds” by Robert Fantinatto
Nine of John’s albums are being re-released in a collection of works called the JMC Retrospective.
Music Work Magazine has published a comprehensive article by Jessie Locke on John’s long career, “The Astral Excursions of John Mills-Cockell”
Red Bull Music Academy features John and his Intersystems group as part of an extended piece on
“Synthedelia: Psychedelic Electronic Music in the 1960s” in the May 2018 edition.
Here is a link to a recent video interview with Robert Fantinatto, the producer of “I Dream of Wires”.
John Mills-Cockell is a electronic composer living in western Canada. He has created scores for The National Arts Centre, Firehall Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre, Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, Vancouver Playhouse,  Phoenix Theatre- University of Victoria, and  Bluebridge Theatre among others. Past commissions include works for the National Ballet, Toronto Dance Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto Repertory Orchestra, St. Lawrence Centre, as well as a great many feature films and shorts by producers in Canada, U.S.A. & the U.K. John is a recipient of many grants and awards during his career as a composer including recognition by Canada Council, Socan and Ontario Arts Council.
John has completed his opera Savitri & Sam with a libretto by distinguished playwright/director Ken Gass.  He is now composing Kid Catastrophe, a ‘new media opera’ with libretto by Québecois novelist/playwright France Ducasse & designer/sculptor Michael Hayden.

JMC Retrospective

The JMC Retrospective was conceived by producer William Blakeney and is a collection of works recorded between 1967 and 1977. It is a series of 9 disks (both cd & vinyl), 3 each for Intersystems, Syrinx and Pangalactic Performer.


reissue December 2015

“Intersystems” was the collaborative union of Michael Hayden,installation artist, Blake Parker, poet, the sound artist/composer, John Mills-Cockell and the architectural designer, Dik Zander.

This first historical edition is limited to 500 copies. This three-disc box collects Number One Intersystems (1967), presenting the correct side sequence and (for the first time) the original tracks’ sub-section divisions; Peachy (1967), with (for the first time) the correct track separations, timings, and titles; and Free Psychedelic Poster Inside (1968), with (for the first time) the original (double) track titles. All works remastered by Intersystems founding member John Mills-Cockell for this edition. The three-CD box includes full-color digipak sleeves and a 56-page booklet with two texts by Intersystems founding members Michael Hayden and John Mills-Cockell situating Intersystems in the contexts of contemporary art and music, a text by Nick Storring about the original three records and Intersystems founding member Blake Parker, the complete chronology of Intersystems Presentations, and 23 full-page images illustrating the dense evolution of this short-lived and essential mixed-media collective.

The three album set has been reissued by Alga Marghen and is being distributed by Forced Exposure 

a new release of Syrinx

RVNG has created a beautiful edition of the Syrinx albums

Canadian trio Syrinx, led by electronic music composer John Mills-Cockell, with percussionist Alan Wells and saxophonist Douglas Pringle, presents an unusual story. The two instrumental albums that Syrinx issued in the early 1970s sound little like the psychedelic rock music that shaped their Toronto subculture, and different still from the electronic tape music that Mills-Cockell absorbed as a young composer. Instead, the fortuitous path of Syrinx , and their surprising commercial success, stands apart as a beautiful tangent from the dominant mode of 1970s experimental music.

Pangalactic Performer

Founding member and composer for Intersystems and Syrinx, John Mills-Cockell continues his story by releasing his works of the 1970’s on Toronto-based Artoffact Records. The deluxe 3CD boxset is Pangalactic Performer.

Synthesizer wizard John Mills-Cockell is proud to present a 3-CD box set collecting his classic albums Heartbeat, A Third Testament, and Gateway. The anthology includes the final studio recordings of Syrinx including an exciting unreleased single Marigolds. Collectors will enjoy an entire lost album of incredible studio recordings entitled Neon Accelerando and the long-awaited theme to A Stationary Ark. 

The collection includes remasters of his original 70’s compositions, a 60-page booklet with liner notes by Grammy winning journalist Rob Bowman, cover art reproductions, and exclusive photos by Art Usherson. This is an essential piece of Canadian electronic music history. It is the definitive collection of Mills-Cockell’s solo work and perfect for fans of analogue synthesizers and 1970’s prog rock.

Savitri & Sam

photo: Jean Wells

prerecording session with Nelson Lohnes, David King, Nick Gough, Andrea Ludwig, Barbra Lica, Larissa Koniuk

Currently in development, SAVITRI & SAM is a full-length opera composed by John Mills-Cockell with libretto by Ken Gass. Ken and John had the opera chosen recently to be performed at Fort Worth Texas through the opera company “Frontiers” program.

“What a fabulous experience with Fort Worth Opera! Everyone in the company was incredibly hospitable and helpful. The musicianship and knowledge of those we worked with was always dependable, superb in fact. In addition to working and performing Savitri & Sam, the opera Ken & I were invited to showcase, we saw excerpts of 5 other totally interesting new works as well as 2 full productions in FWO’s Festival series and 3 short pieces, Brief Encounters. Last but certainly not least, I was able to make this trip with the generous financial assistance of Socan Foundation, for which I am most grateful. Thank you Socan!”

A workshop presentation of 95 minutes from the opera was held at The Citadel (home of Coleman, Lemieux & Co) in September, 2013, starring Zorana Sadiq (Savitri), Michael Barrett (Sam), Marion Newman (Sarindar) and Giles Tompkins (Manjinder), conducted by Gregory Oh and directed by Ken Gass, co-produced by Canadian Rep Theatre and Savitri Project Collective.

A review by Leslie Barcza in Barczablog, called the presentation “a stunning achievement.”

A follow-up workshop presentation is planned for August 2016, with the aim of a full production within the next two years.

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John Mills-Cockell has created scores for The National Arts Centre, Firehall Arts Centre, Citadel Theatre, Glasgow Museum of Art, Vancouver Playhouse, University of Victoria Theatre, and  Bluebridge Theatre among others.

“Scoring music for plays, musicals, dance or film is one of my great passions.  I began doing it early in my creative life and have continued ever since.  After I had completed a handful of such works, I began to think that I knew how to do it.  After doing it more, I learned, sometimes by making big mistakes, that each and every score in support of works in any discipline is for the first time.   It is so tempting to assume that one knows how to score a new project having done others that seem similar. It causes great misfortune, because each production is unique.  Every time is the first time! “

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