John Kenneth Graham was born on 26 July 1955 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. During his younger years, John studied with saxophone/reed virtuoso Nick Rouse and excelled as a baritone horn soloist and timpanist under the auspices of Harvey Philips, garnering valuable experience that prepared him for his future musical career. In addition to a lifetime of intensive independent learning, he has studied orchestration with Kent Kennan, song-writing with Ned Rorem, and music theory and composition at Louisiana State University and Southeastern Louisiana University, at which institutions he achieved considerable academic distinction. John subsequently worked as a studio musician, church composer/arranger, and freelance composer. In such commemorative works as the march "Rangers Lead the Way" and Freedom's Defense (1983). his talent as a conductor and composer were devoted to honoring America's Veterans. He has also performed as a pianist in a variety of venues throughout the USA, including Yellowstone National Park (Mammoth Hot Springs).
Among his most important orchestral works are the First, Second, and Third Symphoniespart of a projected cycle on American themes; a piano concerto; and the Tarantella for Orchestra. Other major works include Lines After Bidart While Watching Television, for symphonic band and chorus; and the Festival Mass in C Minor, for chamber orchestra, organ, and chorus. His work has also been featured in the Delian Suites Nos. 2 and 3 and Nu Mu [sic!] Unlimited Festival 2007.
A steadfast advocate of contemporary tonal music, John is optimistic about its future:
"Tonal music as a set of artistic traditions stretches back to very ancient times, and no doubt will continue for most folks to be the only real music there is. Non-tonal and atonal approaches are novel, yet mere novelty is not at all the same thing as musical expressiveness. Tonal music will continue to be written, no doubt to the chagrin of those lacking the talent to write in widely meaningful styles.
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