Cornelius Cardew Composition Prize - Composers Web Project


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Recently John has had pieces performed at the Harrogate International Festival, the Brighton Festival and the Warwick Festival. Works have also been broadcast on Classic FM, Dutch Radio and BBC2. Various projects are on the horizon including more composition-based education projects and plenty of new works!

4 Bagatelles


John Webb photo by Martin Tothill



Biographical Notes
John Webb was born in 1969 in London. He was educated in Essex where he started playing the piano and violin at a (fairly) early age. He began to compose at 14, and two years later attended Colchester Institute studying A-level music and German. Here he took an active part in the college's musical life as both pianist and composer and was thankfully inactive as a viola player.
By moving to Birmingham Conservatoire he was happily able to give up the viola completely- a considerable gain to the viola playing world at large. Here he studied piano with Frank Wibaut and composition with John Joubert.

As a founding member of the Thallein Ensemble he performed works by Berio, Messiaen, Finnissy, Ives and Schnittke. Schnittke was a major interest at this stage - in his final year he completed a dissertation on the composer's polystylism and was the soloist in Schnittke's piano concerto.
Under the auspices of Mark Lockett, a great interest in world music was kindled - an interest which has proved useful in dual rôles as composer and teacher.

Having graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with a first class degree, he then studied for three years at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Brown. In his last year he was also Leverhulme Composition Fellow and won the major composition prizes, including the Theodore Holland Intercollegiate Prize for his orchestral piece Barcarole. His 1992 piece PUMP was joint winner of the Cornelius Cardew Prize.


At this time he undertook two educational projects with London Music, one of which was with a steel band from a south London primary school resulting in a piece called A Caribbean Dawn and Celebration. Through his then girlfriend (but soon to be wife) he developed contacts with musicians in the forefront of the period instrument movement and has written works for viols, harpsichord and baroque double reeds.

He left the Academy with an MMus and a DipRAM. Since then he has composed works for various instrumentalists, orchestras and ensembles including Frank Wibaut, Owen Murray, The Richmond Symphony Orchestra, the viol group Concordia, the London Oboe Band, Southern Pro Musica Orchestra and the choir of St Marylebone Church, London. He has also been a member of the Gamelan orchestra Swarånå and is an extremely busy teacher.

However, unwilling to leave student-life behind just yet, has lead to the contemplation of a research PhD concerning the music used in cartoons. Sadly, due to lack of time this project is on hold.

In his leisure time, John enjoys reading, attempting a little DIY on his palatial residence in South London or not playing the viola (although he has written works which include a solo viola part).

Johns Concerto for classical accordion was chosen as the final round set piece in the May 2000 Klingenthal International Accordion Competition - one of the most important accordion prizes in the world. He is also looking forward to performances in Norwich and London and will be composing solo works for both violin and accordion.
Selected Works...


Selected Works

World Premiers 1998

Orchestral works

Choral Works

Chamber Works

Instrumental Works

Vocal Works

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