John Plant (right) is described in the pages of Fanfare as “that rarest of modern composers, someone who writes sympathetically for the voice.” His career took flight with a series of works for the dancers of Le Groupe de la Place Royale. In addition to The Heart of Things, he has composed two operas: The Shadowy Waters (Montreal 2005) and I will fly like a bird , inspired by the Robert Dziekanski tragedy (Scotia Festival, Halifax 2012; Opera Nova Scotia, 2015; Thompson Street Opera, Chicago, 2019; Operas of the Decade, Opera Canada.) Until 2010 his music was primarily vocal, reflecting a fascination with literature, languages and the human voice. A deep clear breath of life for sax and piano (Boston 2013) marked a turn toward instrumental music. His love affair with the sax culminated in two further works: 'Insomnia, ' for soprano, alto sax and piano (Carnegie Hall 2015); and Faustus: a SaxOpera, for alto sax and large wind ensemble, commissioned by World-Wide Concurrent Premieres Commissioning Fund (Boston 2015, San Diego 2016, Wolfville 2016, Calgary 2018). 'Earthsea' Sonata for clarinet and piano, inspired by the work of Ursula Le Guin, was premiered by its commissioner Dominic Desautels (Halifax 2017) Recent work includes Three Echoes of the Odyssey, commissioned and premiered by percussionist Marie Josée Simard and pianist Louise Bessette (Montreal 2020), La parola scenica, a micro-opera for solo clarinet commissioned by Dominic Desautels; and West Jeddore, a solo piano work commissioned by Louise Bessette for her concert program Un piano autour du monde.
Plant’s music has been performed in Zagreb, San Diego, Brussels, London, Avignon, Chicago, New York, and elsewhere, as well as throughout Canada. He has received grants from Canada Council, Arts Nova Scotia, Ontario Arts Council, Metropolitan Life, WWCPF, and CUPFA. Suzie LeBlanc's CD I am in need of music, featuring Sandpiper and Sunday 4 AM, was named Best Classical CD at the 2014 ECMA Awards, and was a finalist for the Nova Scotia Governor General’s Masterworks Award; Kitchen Party , featuring his Capriccio for flute and marimba, was named Best Classical CD in 2015. Two CDs are devoted to his vocal music: Canciones del alma and Babel is a Blessing: Vocal Works in Eight Languages.