My friend Jeremy Peyton Jones, who passed away at the age of 66, was a composer who worked several times as an artistic programmer and music speaker.
Some of Jeremy’s most notable compositional works were for 10 plays in the 1980s and early 1990s (including Deadwood, 1985, at the Kew Botanical Gardens in London) directed by Hilary westlake with texts by David Gale and directed by the Lumière & Fils theater company.
He wrote the music for The Sleep (1985) and Lulu Unchained (1986), both conducted by Pete Brooks, and his chamber opera, The Menaced Assassin, premiered in 1989 for the Garden Venture program of the Royal Opera House. He also composed for his own ensemble, Regular Music, for several years.
One of six children, Jeremy was born in Lympstone, Devon, to Donald Peyton Jones, a naval officer who later became vicar, and his wife, Anne (née Coode). After being a chorister at Exeter Cathedral, he went to King School, Taunton, and then to Dartington College of Arts in Devon.
While taking a music degree (1976-79) at what is now Goldsmiths, University of London, he was one of my students. We later shared an enthusiasm for American minimalism, which led Jeremy to model his own style of composition on works, among others, Steve reich and Philippe Glass.
Together with fellow Goldsmiths graduates Helen Ottaway and Andrew Poppy, Jeremy formed the Regular Music ensemble, claiming to be “the early instigators of the British post-system movement whose work straddles the spheres of rock, minimalism and post-punk. “. Their self-titled album (1985) was recently re-released and a larger version of the band, Regular Music II, was in operation from 1990.
In addition to performing with his ensemble, in the early 1980s Jeremy was an event programmer at the Midland Group Arts Center in Nottingham, where, after being fascinated by mainland European directors such as Pina Bausch and Jan Fabre, he enthusiastically programmed the art of radical performance by British companies.
In the 90s he was Head of Course and Director of Music at Nottingham Polytechnic, later Nottingham Trent University, before returning to Goldsmiths, where he became a music player. In 2002, he spent a few months as Composer in Residence at the Brisbane Conservatorium, Australia.
Sailing was a great pastime, and the cruises he took each summer for a month with his family were inspired by compositions such as North South East West (1989), which used nautical texts to contemplate identity, l insecurity and isolation.
Among his later works is a three-part series of musical plays entitled Against Oblivion (2007-14). Endings, created with composer Kaffe Matthews, premiered in 2012, and two years later Jeremy took part in the multimedia production of A Farewell to Arms’ Imitating the Dog.
Jeremy’s later years were marred by mental health issues. He was a generous friend and colleague to many.
In 1995, he married Claire Randall. She survives him, along with their children, Miranda, Patric and Lois, and her brother Richard.