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John Sharpley

JOHN SHARPLEY, composer, performer and teacher, possesses a unique and multi-faceted career that spans geographic and cultural borders. Born in Houston, Texas, USA, he earned a Doctorate in Music Composition from Boston University; a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Houston; and, diplomas for piano, violin, and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in Strasbourg, France. His composition teachers include Michael Horvit, David Del Tredici, John Harbison, Betsy Jolas and Leonard Bernstein. Singapore has been his home since 1985.

He has been featured as both composer and pianist in numerous concerts, institutions, conferences and festivals recently including Illinois Wesleyan University, the New Composition Festival (Bangkok, Thailand), the Texas Music Teacher’s Association Convention (Dallas and Houston), the Asia Pacific Festival (Wellington, New Zealand), Singapore Piano Pedagogy Symposium, the Australasian Piano Pedagogy Symposium (Melbourne), Across Oceans International Festival (Toronto, Canada), the Autumn Artist Festival (Houston) and the Hong Kong Asian Arts Festival, San Francisco State University, Hendrix College (Arkansas), University of Kansas, Concordia (Montreal), University of Houston, Institut Technology Mara (Malaysia) and Lake Tuggeranongs College, Canberra, Australia. He has held positions as assistant professor of music at Boston University, music lecturer at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore) and composer-in-residence at LaSalle College of the Arts (Singapore). He was composer-in-residence for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra 2004 season. He is co-founder and Artistic Director of OperaViva ( and currently teaches at both Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LaSalle College of the Arts.

Sharpley’s honors include the Texas Music Teacher’s Association Composition Commissioning Prize for 2007, an American Cine-Eagle Award (October Garden - 1983), and the New York Film Festival Award (Silent Hope - 1992). The film Gourmet Baby (2001) scored by Sharpley that has been featured in major international film festivals including New York and Los Angeles. Datura, a Singaporean film that Sharpley scored, won the Singapore International Film Festival Award for Best Short Film (1999). His music for the CD ROM, Around the World won the Ngee Ann Creative Excellence Award for music (1995). In 2000, he was awarded a special citation from Stanford University (USA) in recognition of his contributions as a teacher. He is listed in the Cambridge Dictionary of International Biography, the American Biographical Institute and the Who's Who in American Universities and Colleges. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards and is featured on several commercial CDs.

Sharpley's compositions include orchestral works, opera, music for theatre, film and dance scores, chamber music, songs, and solo piano works. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Novosibirsk Philharmonic, the Sheffield Winds (Chicago), the Huqin Quartet, the T’ang String Quartet are some of the prominent ensembles which have performed Sharpley's compositions. He also worked with the famous rock group R.E.M., composing an arrangement for the song Lotus. His song cycle for soprano, children’s choir and piano, The Wild Child, was recorded for the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) in 2007 by the Young Voices of Melbourne. His choral work Dream Within A Dream premiered and toured in the US in 2008. His opera Kannagi was premiered in an Indian Temple in Singapore (2009). His choreographed piano work Toccata premiered in Singapore and Delhi, India (2009).

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