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John Ashton Thomas (1961-2021)

Professorial Staff - Composition


Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
Faculty of Music
King Charles Court
Old Royal Naval College
SE10 9JF

John Ashton-Thomas Photo


Trinity Laban alum John Ashton Thomas died on Monday 4 October 2021. John was the longest serving member of the Composition faculty, joining the staff at Trinity Laban in 1992.

Qualifications/ Educational Background

John started his musical life as a chorister at Exeter Cathedral. He took the Graduate Course at Trinity College of Music, and gained a M.Mus. in Composition at the University of London, Goldsmiths’ College in 1990.

Teaching Experience

John has had a commitment to teaching since leaving Trinity in 1984 when he took a full time job as a lecturer in music at a college of further education in Liverpool. Since then he has taught at every level, from peripatetic piano in a primary school to his work at Trinity, 12 years at the Royal Academy of Music, and visits to the University of Westminster and USC in Los Angeles.

Creative Outputs

John’s music has been performed at the ICA, the Barbican, the South Bank Centre, Glastonbury Festival, The Place, The Jazz Cafe, the R.A.M., Trinity and many other venues. His work has been shortlisted by the SPNM (sound and music) on a number of occasions. John has performed in most of London’s principal Jazz Venues. John’s work in the fields of Film and TV is shown and broadcast across the world regularly. He has contributed as a composer or orchestrator to the scores of more than 60 feature films. John’s music was heard daily on BBC2 from September 1994 to July 2010.

External Appointments

John taught classes in musicianship and transcription and worked with ensembles in the Jazz department at the Royal Academy of Music for 11 years from 1994-2005. He has visited the University of Southern California on a number of occasions.


John was awarded Honorary Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music in 2004.