Since 2004, NYC native John Stone has been Composer and Music Director for The Paper Bag Players with whom he performs 120 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 four new shows, including “Laugh Laugh Laugh!,” “Whoop-Dee-Doo!,” “Saddles and Sunshine,” and “Hiccup Help.”
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 has received grants from Meet the Composer as well as the prestigious W.K. Rose Fellowship of Vassar College to complete a book on J.S. Bach’s last fugue.
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 do not hide my personality, but rather allow me to express myself in a variety of guises, each a facet of my aesthetic sensibility.