Well, it’s John here. I’m told I should introduce myself, so:

Gender: male

Nationality: British

Status: married

Age: not important

I’ve known I wanted to be a musician ever since I could walk and talk, and the story is true that I first discovered music at home when I lifted the lid of the old upright piano in my parents’ London apartment and started to prod the keys, while at nursery school I sang along loudly with all the other kids at morning assembly each day. My bewildered parents, probably driven crazy by the hours of piano improvisation and piping treble singing they endured, thought that if you can’t stop it at least get him to do it better, so they sent me at age seven for piano lessons where my piano teacher told me to be a composer, or singer (or anything but please not a pianist). Fortunately the boys’ school my parents sent me to had a strong musical tradition, with daily choral worship led by the choir (I needed no second bidding to join) – and the director of music, Edward Chapman, was himself a gifted composer, a pupil in his Cambridge days of Charles Wood (a name that church musicians will know). He encouraged all of us to think composition was normal, ran a fine school choir and orchestra, and pointed my footsteps in the direction of Cambridge University, where I met David Willcocks, the legendary director of King’s College Choir, who took an interest in my compositions, encouraged me to conduct, and recommended me to Oxford University Press, who signed me up while I was still a student and have been my publisher ever since. I’m not sure where the intervening years have all gone, but in a way I’m still that kid doodling at the piano with his inventions, only now I get paid for it. I compose, conduct, produce recordings, and try to cope with the flood of commitments that a musician’s life involves. Some day I’ll get round to some hobbies.

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