John Webb is a composer and workshop leader, though he also writes, leads education and community projects, conducts, trains teachers, amongst other things.
After studying composition at the Royal Academy of Music (gaining a MMus and DipRAM), John has worked as a freelance composer and teacher his entire professional life. He has written works for a variety of ensembles including the Albion Ensemble, Owen Murray and the European Union Baroque Orchestra. He was also commissioned by ENO Baylis to compose two works to be performed by children: Lionhunt! and The Ballad of Slippery Jack. Most recently he has written the score for the animated film Roger Ballen’s Theatre of Apparitions which is premiered at 2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival.
He worked extensively with young musicians teaching at the Junior Academy, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music before developing his extensive practice as an animateur. In this capacity he has worked with very young children, families, primary and secondary children, the homeless, those living with dementia, vulnerable adults and refugees. He finds this work immensely rewarding as it encourages the participants’ self-confidence, but it also stimulates his own creativity and imagination.
Recent work includes: The Last Plantagenet for choir and orchestra (commissioned by Leicestershire music hub and Philharmonia Orchestra), and Into the Light for 2000 children and the Aurora Orchestra, both of which were conducted by the composer; The Train for a combination of grade 1, grade 6 and professional musicians; Sing a Story for Wigmore Hall and The Girl Who Never Looked Up for the National Theatre Learning Department. As a workshop and project leader he is currently working for the Philharmonia Orchestra, Wigmore Hall, LPO, Southwark Music Hub, Academy of St Martins in the Fields, Mid-Wales Music Trust, the Royal Academy of Music, Spitalfields Music, Sound Connections, Live Music Now! and Create Arts. He works with a large variety of participants, from very young children and families, to vulnerable adults, deaf students, music students and prisoners. No two weeks are the same, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Into the Light was commissioned by Aurora Orchestra and Buckinghamshire Learning Trust Music with funds from PRS for Music Foundation.
It received its UK premiere on 29 April 2015, performed by 1800 children from Buckinghamshire (voices and mixed instruments), members of the Aurora Orchestra and conducted by John Webb. Held at Royal Albert Hall.
Into the Light started with some questions – how do we celebrate the world? How do we create a celebratory piece? How can some of the KS2 performers who will sing it feed their ideas (both words and music) into the piece?
After pondering for some time, we decided that it’s easier to celebrate the world if we first pretended that we couldn’t see it, that the world was in darkness. When, finally, light appeared and we saw everything for the first time we would be completely awestruck at the wonder, beauty and diversity of the planet on which we live. And so the bare bones of the piece was born.
To listen to Into the Light CLICK HERE