Leader John Garner’s riveting solo performance of the world premiere of Robert Matthew–Walker’s Fantasia Malincolica, highlighted a fascinating accessible work covering a vast array of techniques; immaculate intonation, gutsy rhythms, full rich drama to airy trills and confident double-stopping. Truly musical throughout.” (Maggie Cotton – The Birmingham Post)
John took up the violin, age 7, under the guidance of local teacher, Tim Beilby. After fewer than four years he had passed his grade 8 exam with distinction, and at age 14 was awarded a performance diploma from the Royal Schools of Music, also with distinction. He continued his studies for several years with Dr. Rimma Sushanskaya, last pupil and protégée of the legendary Russian violinist, David Oistrakh. After four years at the Royal College of Music, studying with Mark Messenger, Daniel Rowland, Mark Armstrong and jazz violinist Chris Garrick, he graduated with a first class honours degree. He is currently studying jazz at postgraduate level as a scholar at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama with trumpeter Robbie Robson and multi-instrumentalist Stuart Hall, where he has benefited from masterclasses and courses led by world-class musicians including Enrico Pieranunzi, Trevor Tomkins, David Friesen, Liam Noble, Steve Argüelles, Martin Hathaway and Malcolm Edmonstone. John also studies Carnatic violin with Jyotsna Srikanth, Europe’s leading violinist from the Carnatic classical tradition.
John’s experiences as both a classical soloist and chamber musician have been diverse. He has played in masterclasses and private coaching sessions with renowned musicians including Lewis Kaplan, Felix Andrievsky, Peter Herresthal, Jan Vogler, Savely Shalman and Alvia Vandysheva. As a member of several string quartets, including the highly successful Park Quartet and The Guastalla Quartet, he has taken part in masterclasses with the Endellion, Coull, Maggini, Cavaleri, Sacconi and Chilingirian quartets.
In 2007, John performed Tchaikovksy’s Violin Concerto in the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham, with the King Edward’s Symphony Orchestra, later performing the first movement in Symphony Hall alongside dancers from the Elmhurst Ballet School in a newly choreographed ballet. The following year saw performances of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Academy Chamber Orchestra. In 2011, he performed Elgar’s Piano Quintet in London’s prestigious Wigmore Hall and toured Bosnia and Serbia with the SIDA European Student Chamber Orchestra where he appeared on stage alongside French violinist Pierre Amoyal in performances of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins. As principal violinist of the Moritzburg Festival Orchestra in 2012, John was a featured soloist in a performance of Gubaidulina’s Impromptu in the Konzerthaus Berlin. After taking part in the 2012-13 BBC Pathways Scheme, John now performs and tours regularly with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, working with conductors including Sir Andrew Davis, Oliver Knussen, Sakari Oramo and Jules Buckley.
As a jazz violinist, John covers everything from swing to contemporary and world jazz with groups including The Hot Club Ensemble, The John Garner Quartet, Mook, The Lobbus and Project Avartan, with Indian musicians Rekesh Chauhan and Alok Verma. He also makes regular appearances across the UK, and abroad, with the Abraxas Ensemble. As a composer and producer, he has released two records, ‘Three Stages of Chaos’ in 2009 and ‘Music for a While’ in 2012, and his future-jazz group, Emanata, released their début EP, ‘Something Like That…’, in early 2014 on Love Buzz Recordings. As a member of band Polaroid 85, and formerly Malpas, John has supported such high-profile artists as Mr Hudson, OK Go, Hidden Orchestra, Anchorsong, Lisa Mitchell, MC Xander and To Kill a King in some of the UK’s most famous venues, and has performed at music festivals including Shambala, Solfest, Cloud Cuckoo Land and Playgroup. He has also played on stage with world-famous artists including Junior Marvin, Laura Mvula, Wretch 32 and Stewart Copeland.
John is generously supported by The Craxton Memorial Trust.
I discovered John online after researching several weeks for a violinist to record and participate in my new album and immediately knew that I had found someone special. He is a strong, imaginative and competent player and a highly professional individual to work with. The fact that he is keen to explore new things and take on new challenges is an added bonus. I will certainly be working with him again in the future.” (Othon Mataragas)