Born in Templeglantine, Co. Limerick in 1951, John Buckley studied flute with Doris Keogh and composition with James Wilson at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. His subsequent composition studies were in Cardiff with the Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott and with John Cage.
He has written a diverse range of work, from solo instruments to full orchestra. The list includes numerous commissions, amongst them Concerto for Organ and Orchestra and Campane in Aria for the National Concert Hall, Rivers of Paradise for the official opening of the Concert Hall at the University of Limerick, Maynooth Te Deum for the bicentenary of St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, and A Mirror into the Light for Camerata Ireland’s inaugural concert and many works for RTÉ.
John Buckley's catalogue now extends to almost 100 works, which have been performed and broadcast in more than fifty countries worldwide. His compositions have represented Ireland on five occasions at the International Rostrum of Composers and at five ISCM festivals. Amongst his awards are the Varming Prize (1977), the Macaulay Fellowship (1978), the Arts Council's Composers' Bursary (1982), and the Toonder Award (1991). In 1984 he was elected a member of Aosdána, Ireland's state sponsored academy of creative artists. His music has been recorded on the Anew, Altarus, Black Box, Marco Polo, Lyric FM, Atoll and Celestial Harmonies labels. He has made numerous broadcasts on music and music education for RTÉ and Lyric FM.
He has been awarded both a PhD and a DMus by the National University of Ireland and is active as a lecturer on composition and music in education. He is on the staff of St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra, Dublin. His biography Constellations: The Life and Music of John Buckley by Benjamin Dwyer was published in May 2011 by Carysfort Press.