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Malcolm John : Associate Artist

...his style is usually linear, clear-cut and often transparent...

Photo of Malcolm John


Malcolm John's music is essentially crafted for the performers for which it is written; it is lyric in style, with a touch of challenge. Amateur & youth groups are favoured, as is the sympathetic setting of texts, which are occasionally composed for solo performance.

John was educated at Ballarat and Geelong Colleges, and received his B.Mus from the University of Melbourne. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music, New York, where he gained a Diploma in Chorale Conducting. He also completed his Ph.D on Youth Music-Drama at the University of York, UK, and is an Associate of the Royal College of Music in piano pedagogy. His teachers include Max Cooke, John Ingram, Vincent Persichetti and Wilfrid Mellers. His book, 20th Century Music Drama in Schools, was a 1970 C.U.P. publication. Influences have been, among others, Britten, Hindemith, Bach & Bartok, and his style is usually linear, clear-cut and often transparent, with a mostly conservative harmonic and rhythmic texture.

Examples of John's style include The Wild Swans at Coole (W.B.Yeats) for Baritone and Piano and Freeze, a cantata to his own Ode to James Harrison, the (Geelong) inventor of refrigeration.

John has received numerous commissions from community organisations such as The Geelong Grammar School (including 150th year celebrations), The Geelong College (eg. the opening of the Keith Humble Performing Arts Centre), The Geelong Chorale (of which he is currently president), The Geelong Summer Music Camp (founded & directed for several years by John), St. Mary's Basilica, Geelong (eg for 2007 Passion Music series of concerts), St.Lukes UCA, Geelong (c.25 Chorale Homilies for his SAB amateur church choir ), Bay City Strings and Melbourne Youth Strings.

John worked as the Director of Music at Scotch College in Adelaide for three years, as Senior lecturer Salisbury College of Advanced Education S.A. for 5 years as well as Director of Music, Geelong Grammar School, for 20 years and as an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board for 40 years.

John has written much for theatre, and delights in participating in stage productions, as composer, actor and occasionally as conductor. He enjoys accompanying soloists, as well as teaching piano, and attends concerts and shows when possible. His four children love making music and two are active professional performers. John was recently awarded the OAM Order of Australia Medal for his services to music education, composition, performance and conducting in the Geelong region.

Biography provided by the composer — current to April 2007

Selected Commissions

  Work Commission Details
Digital sheet music sample The five brothers (full orchestra with narrator) youth orchestra (1998) Commissioned by Geelong Summer Music Camp Inc. for January 1998 concert