John WhiteBorn in Berlin in 1936, John White studied piano with Arthur Alexander and Eric Harrison, and composition with Bernard Stevens at the Royal College of Music.

Since that time, he has been continually active as a composer, performer and teacher. His career includes composing and directing music for the theatre, ballet, experimental music and in electronic ensembles.

John has headed the music department at the Drama Centre, London and performed as a solo pianist and accompanist. These have included the Promenade Theatre Orchestra, Hobbs-White Duo, Garden Furniture Music Ensemble, Farewell Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Reverie Trio, Instant Dismissal Symphony Orchestra, Lower Edmonton Latin Lovers’ Choral Society. His collaborations with Live Batts featured unusual, even bizarre combinations of instruments and other sound sources.

In the 1960s and 70s, he was closely associated with English experimental composers. During that time, he invented the British form of minimalism known as ‘systems music.’

John has played bass trombone with the Royal Ballet Touring Orchestra and tuba in the London Gabrieli Brass Ensemble. In addition, John has toured widely as a piano recitalist specialising in late Romantic music, in particular Erik Satie.

In theatre music, he has composed scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Productions include The Merry Wives of Windsor and Les Enfants du Paradis.  He has also composed many products for the Royal National Theatre and various regional theatres. Lastly, he has provided musical direction of the Western Theatre Ballet and numerous musicals in London’s West End.


John White has held a succession of teaching posts. These include the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, Yehudi Menuhin School, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Also, Leicester Polytechnic (now De Montfort University) and the Drama Centre, London. He has fulfilled visiting lectureships in various foreign institutions and conducting workshops with CoMA (Contemporary music-making for amateurs). As a result, CoMa commissioned two works for large ensemble.