Jack Body’s music covers almost all genres, including solo and chamber music, orchestral music, music-theatre, music for dance and film as well as electroacoustic music. A fascination with the music and cultures of Asia, particularly Indonesia, has been a strong influence. He has been commissioned by the Auckland Philharmonia, NZ String Quartet, NZSO, BBC Scottish Orchestra and many other groups, and has written three works for the Kronos Quartet.
In 1999 he was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to music, and in 2004 he was honoured by the Arts Foundation of NZ as a laureate. Jack was a passionate advocate for New Zealand music, beginning with the Sonic Circus series of concerts in Wellington in the 1960s. He organised three Asia Pacific Festivals featuring the contemporary and traditional music of New Zealand and our Asian neighbours. Jack was the editor of Waiteata Music Press from 1981 until his retirement in 2013.
Body said about his work Pater Noster: "On my return to New Zealand in 1971 after a European study tour I chose to live in solitude at the seaside. It seemed to me a chance to try to make sense of all the experiences of the previous eighteen months and an opportunity to come to terms with myself. Pater Noster was one of the works that was composed during this period. How far it is a “religious” work I cannot tell. Sometimes I feel that it “secularises” a religious prayer; on other occasions it appears as an attempt to make holy the experience of what is essentially a secular world.
"Pater Noster uses a four part choir, a group of four soloists, a pair of drums and an unspecified melodic instrument. Each member of the choir also plays a percussion instrument. The actual musical content is subservient to this “idea” of the work – groups of people and individuals each worshipping God simultaneously but in their own fashion."
Marilyn Waring, Joan Howard, Bruce Chandler, Barry Mora (vocalists), June Brain (cl), Ross Harris (horn), Gary Brain (perc), Bach Choir/Jack Body, John Hawley Recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert, 30 November 1973.