John Warthen Struble
American composer-pianist and writer, John Warthen Struble, was born in Washington D.C. He began piano studies at the age of eight and had his first work, a children’s musical theatre piece, performed when he was 15. That same year, he made his concert debut playing Mozart’s C major Concerto, K. 467, with original cadenzas, with the San Bernardino (CA) Youth Symphony under Gerald Christensen.
As an undergraduate at Indiana University, Struble studied with John Eaton, Bernhard Heiden and Juan Orrego-Salas, in addition to seminars with John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, George Crumb, Virgil Thomson, Aaron Copland, Donald Erb and others. His undergraduate thesis was a one-act opera, Pontifex, for theatre-in
-the-round with multiple chamber ensembles in lieu of orchestra.
Struble received his M.A. in Music from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied with Pauline Oliveros and Robert Erickson. His thesis was The “Concord Sonata” of Charles E. Ives: a reference for pianists and scholars, on which he worked with the late John Kirkpatrick at Yale, and which began his lifelong passion for American classical music.
In subsequent years, Struble has written and performed a huge variety of works, ranging from his award-winning Granite State Suite to the somber Archbishop Romero Mass for mixed chorus, brass choir, timpani and organ, premiered under the composer’s direction at the cathedral of the San Bernardino/Riverside Roman Catholic Diocese. His compositional range encompasses everything from serious piano sonatas to Broadway musicals, from string quartets to his 1996 Rhapsody for Piano and Jazz Band.
He is the author of the first book devoted exclusively to America’s classical music, The History of American Classical Music, published in 1995 by Facts on File (New York). In addition, his collection of 104 fundamental American folk songs, entitled Classic American Folk Music, arranged for piano with historical commentary by the author, was published in two volumes by Belwin Mills in 1996.