As a young boy John studied piano and as a teenager he picked-up the guitar after hearing the Beatles who were a big influence on his music. After listening to the Mahavishnu Orchestra his musical interest broadened into Jazz, World and Classical music. He studied Jazz guitar with a passion and took lessons from Jazz guitarist Robert Conti in Florida. He began studying a variety of guitar styles, including finger picking, classical, Brazilian, etc. His interest in World music even led him to briefly study Indian rhythms with a tabla teacher from the Ali Akbar College of Music. He also went to Rio de Janeiro in numerous occasions with his Brazilian wife Paola to study Brazilian rhythms and play music with some of the top players in Brazil. In 2003 John recorded, mixed, mastered and arranged the music for a documentary film about the traditional folk music of the Northwestern Indian region of Kutchh, titled Rhythm of the Rann.
In college, he studied Jazz Arranging and Improv with Don Schamber at Monterey Peninsula College and Ray Brown at Cabrillo College. He studied classical composition with Dr. Edwin LaBounty at Western Washington University, where he went on to earn a B.M. in Music Composition. He composed many works for small ensembles, string quartets and full orchestras. He wrote extensive works for modern dance, and multimedia concerts. Also, while there, he extensively studied electronic music and Audio Engineering, which later led him to teach MIDI and Digital Audio classes at the University of Sound Arts in Hollywood and to do consulting for major studios including Lorimar Pictures.
In the early '90s he purchased a beautiful 160 acres in the Sierra Foothills where he and his partner Paola created an intentional community called Three Springs, focused on sustainable living. They also created a non-profit community center, in the nearby small town, called
The North Fork Studio, with a mission to bring cultural and educational opportunities to the local community.
John Kilburn composes for:
In many styles including:
John Kilburn won an award
for his score of
"Living Death Valley"