My music is diverse in genre and style, but one of the unifying factors in my compositional approach is collaboration. Whether I’m working with choreographers and filmmakers, or with the children’s theater company, The Paper Bag Players, I see music as a conversation with others that serves a goal beyond my individual vision. Even when I write music for the concert stage, I am especially drawn to the unexpected results that emerge from collaboration with other artists, vocalists, and instrumentalists. It is the back and forth, the trusting conversation, that I love about making music. It is deeply gratifying when the whole exceeds the sum of the parts, and surprises us with something we could not have created on our own.
For me, music is also a form of collaboration and conversation with the past. Genres are masks that allow me to speak in a variety of tongues and across a wide emotional spectrum. The masks allow me to express myself in a variety of guises, each a facet of my aesthetic sensibility.
Since 2003, NYC native John Stone has been Composer and Musical Director for The Paper Bag Players with whom he performs 100 shows annually throughout the Northeast. Drawing from a diverse field of genres and influences ranging from ragtime and stride to classical, bluegrass, klezmer, French musette, jazz, vaudeville, and classic show tunes, he plays his compositions live on the electric keyboard touring with “The Bags” each season. As part of the company’s Creative Team, he has also co-written the stories for eight new shows.
Mr. Stone’s chamber works have toured nationally and internationally, with commissions by the viol consort Parthenia as well as the Queen's Chamber Band, who performed his work at Merkin Concert Hall in 2007. His Langston Hughes song-cycle, Daybreak in Alabama, was performed in New York City and Paris and was featured in the nationally broadcast radio series, Song of America, hosted by Thomas Hampson. In 2017, Met opera soloist Molly Fillmore sang the “Daybreak” cycle at the University of North Texas along with the premiere of “Quiet Girl.” Stone made his Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center debut with a string quartet arrangement performed by members of the International Contemporary Ensemble as part of their Schubertiade Remix. He also provided the string arrangements for works by Lacy Rose, including the musical, "The Doctor and the Devils," and Ria.
Theater and film credits include the scores for Vanessa Redgrave's production of Antony and Cleopatra and short films by Jennifer Reeves, Elizabeth Higgins, and Nate Atchenson. In 2013 he provided the music for Alister Sanderson’s “Herbarium,” a documentary on preservation work at the New York Botanical Garden. Mr. Stone has collaborated with numerous choreographers including Brian Brooks and Kun-Yang Lin, and is Artistic Cofounder and Music Director of the modern dance group Ariane Anthony & Company. He accompanies classes at the Martha Graham Dance School. Stone has received grants from Meet the Composer as well as the W.K. Rose Fellowship of Vassar College to complete a book on J.S. Bach’s last fugue.