Teaching & Lecturing

John is well known as a teacher of composition and is currently Head of Composition at both the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal Academy of Music Junior Department. His pupils have achieved success in a range of competitions and have progressed to further study in composition at many of the top universities and conservatoires in the UK.

John has considerable experience of working in higher education too, having held posts as Visiting Lecturer in Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London and Associate Composition Tutor at Cardiff University. In addition, he has taught on the Professional Skills course at the Royal College of Music, the LRAM course at the Royal Academy of Music and the Performance & Communication Skills course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


John has held several composer-in-residence posts, working with orchestras to devise and lead large-scale education projects. Early in his career he was invited, on the recommendation of James Macmillan, to be Composer in Residence with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on the ninth Strathclyde Concerto project, the SCO's ground-breaking collaboration with Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. John also spent a three-year period as Composer in Association to the Education Department of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, and was chosen on several occasions to be a featured composer in the PRS Composer in Education scheme.

Creative Projects

Throughout his career John has been involved in leading creative projects within education and the wider community.  This work is central to his belief in the importance and value of creativity and expression for all, as well as the power of creative work to facilitate change and development. This enthusiasm began when, as a postgraduate at the Royal College of Music, John spent a year working alongside Gillian Moore on the London Sinfonietta’s education programme.

Since then, he has gone on to develop a significant reputation as a workshop leader across the UK and beyond, leading projects with a great many orchestras, opera companies, ensembles, venues & festivals. This includes work with Opera North, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, London Sinfonietta, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, City of London Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, English Sinfonia, Brodsky Quartet, Ensemble Modern, South Bank Centre, Wigmore Hall, Spitalfields Festival & Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. 

Many of these projects have been collaborative and have involved working closely with practitioners from other disciplines, including choreographers, directors, actors, dancers, poets, playwrights, visual artists and filmmakers. John has also been resident composer on  major international projects, working with ISCM World Music Days, Muziekcentrum Vredenburg & Ile de France Opéra et Ballet. In addition, he has been invited to adjudicate on several award panels, most notably for the IVORS.