J o h n S t a r o s t a
COMPOSER / PIANO PEDAGOGUE
John Starosta, a composer of 21st century music and music educator, was born 1969, in Akron, Ohio. At the age of 7, his family relocated to Tampa, Florida, where his musical interests (particularly in voice) began to evolve. In 1991, he began an extensive study in applied voice and found himself taking an interest in drama and music theater. Subsequently, this led him to the field of ballet and modern dance, where he was fortunate enough to study under teachers who were fluent in Cecchetti, Graham, Limon, and Weidman techniques, giving him a well defined knowledge of dance language and an appreciation for classical dance art.
In 1997, Starosta moved to Columbus, Ohio, where under the tutelage of John Funk Lancaster, a prominent figure in the teaching community, he studied classical piano, 18th century counterpoint, and piano pedagogy. Lancaster's and Starosta's enthusiasm dwelt primarily in the pedagogical arts and the Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical genres. In equal part with piano technique, their lessons included quality of literature, editing, and aspects of troubleshooting processes. By this time, Starosta had begun acquiring his own students and was simultaneously formulating a teaching method of his own.
In 2002, Starosta completed his studies in music theory and 20th century composition with an emphasis on serial and twelve tone music. At the same time, he had the privilege of studying under composer Craig Bove, a former student of new music pioneer Morton Feldman. While Bove had adopted some composition techniques from Feldman (including the idea of "slow-evolving music with recurring asymmetrical patterns"), Starosta and Bove together explored further the notion of composing in an effortless mind state, while allowing the music to explore itself during the writing process. Continuing to exercise these philosophies, Starosta was determined to find his own voice during the years of studying under Bove, and to this day he explores the many facets of sound and the thrill of organizing it into musical contexts.
Starosta works as a music teacher and composer in Raleigh-Durham, NC and continues his efforts to promote new music. Currently he is engaged in ongoing recording projects with pianist Anatoly Larkin and Marc Wienert. He is also working on conceptual concert presentations based on the work of Galina Ivanovna Ustvolskaya and Conlon Nancarrow to be performed in 2020.