Performer  |   Scholar |  Educator


Recently described as ‘One of the foremost exponents of the period piano in the UK’, John is an established performer on early keyboards (notably fortepiano, harpsichord and clavichord), specializing in music of the later 18th and early 19th centuries.

Known for his sometimes quirky and original interpretations of Mozart and Beethoven, John’s performances expose the improvisational roots of their music, his reimagining grounded in his depth of academic knowledge of the historical performance background.
Performing ultimately became an essential vehicle for expressing his intellectual ideas about the classical musical language – an irresistible passion.

Alongside his academic training at the University of Sheffield, he studied piano with Denis Matthews, George Malcolm and Danielle Salamon. In addition to his solo recital work, John performs with critically-acclaimed Ensemble DeNOTE.

As a performer, he specialises in the keyboard and chamber music of Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven especially, principally on fortepiano, but also harpsichord and clavichord. He has recorded solo programmes on several historical originals and has performed at notable collections including the Russell Collection in Edinburgh; the Cobbe Collection at Hatchlands Park; and the Finchcocks Collection (subsequently the Richard Burnett Heritage Collection), as well as collections in Italy and Holland.

John plays a copy of a Viennese fortepiano (after Gabriel Anton Walter) by Paul McNulty (1988).


John is Professor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and was previously Professor of Historical Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. His academic career embraced Bristol University (where he was Professor of Music) and London University (Director of The Institute of Musical Research). An internationally recognized Mozart scholar, he has published six books on Mozart’s music, including an international best-selling biography, The Treasures of Mozart (André Deutsch, 2010) and contributions to the internationally-acclaimed The Mozart Project (a digital book for iPad).

The focus of his academic research has been principally the instrumental music of Mozart, and aspects of Historical Performance Practice in the late 18th century. He has contributed numerous articles and extended reviews to international musicology journals such as The Journal of the Royal Musical Association, Music and Letters, Early Music, Die Musikforschung, Dutch Journal of Music Theory; to published conference proceedings; and has written chapters for many books including Mozart in Context, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Historical Performance in Music, The Oxford Handbook of topic Theory, The Early Keyboard Sonata in Italy and Beyond, Mozart’s Chamber Music with Keyboard, The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia and The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Music.


John is regularly invited to give masterclasses and to teach on historical keyboard courses including at The Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire of Music, Newcastle University, Manchester University, Liverpool University, University College, London, Fondation Royaumont (with Kristian Bezuidenhout), Conservatorio Benedetto Marcello, Venice Conservatorio Giacomo Rossini, Pesaro and Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano.

During his distinguished career as Professor of Music at Bristol University, John taught generations of students who now are leaders in their respective fields, including a Senior Manager at the Higher Education Funding Council for England, a University Registrar, several university lecturers, an international conductor, the Bursar of an Oxford College, directors of music at major churches, and Heads of Music at several public schools. John has given significant service to the music profession nationally, including:

  • External REF Advisor to a major northern university Music Department (2013)
  • External Assessor for Hull University’s validation review of UG degree programmes at Leeds College of Music, (June 2013)
  • External Assessor for review team for UG degree programmes at Brunel University Music Department, (March 2013)
  • External Assessor for departmental review at Liverpool Hope University Music Department (February 2013)
  • External Assessor of independent departmental review team at the University of Birmingham Music Department (March 2011)

‘…solid, reliable and eruditeEarly Music