Born in Wheeling WV, John Alan Rose has been performing as a pianist and composer since the age of 14. Acclaimed European pianist Andreas Haefliger once played from John’s sketchbook and was so taken with his music that he predicted his future as a composer/performer. In November of 2015, John performed his piano concerto with the Moravian Philharmonic in Olomouc CZ, followed by a collaboration with the same orchestra and the talents of cellist JungWon Choi, violinist Simeon Simeonov, soprano Sing Rose, narrator Tyler Bunch, and conductor Miran Vaupotić on a major recording project of his four concerti (cello, piano, violin, and voice) for release by Navona Records. His music has also been performed by the Dubrovnik Philharmonic Orchestra (Croatia), the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra (Russia), and the Luhansk Philharmonic (Ukraine). Guitarist Diego Campagna selected John’s solo guitar piece The Children Are Playing for inclusion on his new guitar album, featuring the piece as well on his American tour.
In addition to large-scale orchestral works, John has also composed a full-length opera, a major choral work, and many pieces for chamber ensemble and piano solo. At the age of 18 he played the complete Chopin Etudes in concerts throughout Ohio and West Virginia. He has studied piano at Duquesne University, Indiana University, and Baldwin-Wallace University; teachers include David Allen Wehr, Robert Mayerovitch, Dina Khudayberdieva, Karen Shaw, and Frederic Chiu. John resides with his family in Ohio and is a member of ASCAP.
Today, John is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our artists. Read on to learn John’s three pieces of advice for budding musicians…
What inspires you to write and/or perform?
Ideas for composition usually come out of the blue. Since composition is not something I decide to do out of habit or discipline, there are often long stretches of time when I compose nothing. Ideas surprise me while I am doing something else, usually working with my hands or outside. Then I basically let the idea play out like listening to the radio or watching a movie. Usually I let the idea work itself out and grow in my mind; then it all pours out at once.
What inspires me to perform is the trust (from past performances) that my performance will be a cause for joy, healing, or any range of positive experiences for my audience. That is why I am very selective about the repertoire I choose. I believe that by walking out on stage and performing a certain selection of music, the musician is saying “this has my stamp of approval.” I want every note to mean something.
What advice do you have for young musicians?
I would give them three things to think about:
1. Be sincere in your music making, and never trying to be someone else or perform like someone else.
2. Remember that a career is not a static “thing,” since it is always changing. To have a fixed notion of what your career “should” be will limit you and prevent you from being happy.
3. Be the person you would want to encounter in the music world. In other words, if you would like to be noticed, notice and encourage others. If you would like to work with kind or inspiring musicians, be kind and inspiring yourself.
How do you prepare for a performance?
I begin at the end. I imagine the program and its intended effect, visualizing myself after the performance as having accomplished exactly what I intended. The rest of the preparation becomes a process of making sure that each piece always remains fresh and honest, exploring each piece in a new way every day. I probably do more mental practice than at the keyboard.
Where and when are you at your most creative?
I am most creative when I have peace in my life. I know many artists who use art as a catharsis, but for me art is best created when my mind is tranquil. I get many of my most satisfying and complete ideas while outside cutting grass, raking, or helping my dad with some project.
What are your other passions besides music?
I love mind-busting challenges, such as Sudoku and chess puzzles, and playing board games with my family such as Rummikub, cards, Labyrinth, dominoes, and Colorku.
SPECTRA VOL. 2 will be available through Navona Records for streaming or purchase on October 12. Click here to pre-order.