John Yannelli, composer of chamber, orchestral and mixed ensemble pieces,
works in both traditional and experimental styles of music. His special interests are in the development of electronic
music, improvisation and composing for theater, dance and film. He has written for and conducted soloists and ensembles
ranging from solo flute to full orchestra with jazz/rock band. Some of his more unusual combinations have been:
StoneMusic, where the entire ensemble played stones of varying sizes and shapes, and WaterHarvest,
in which the ensemble performed on tubs filled with water.
Mr. Yannelli has a diverse catalog including works for mixed ensemble, chorus, orchestra, unaccompanied solo and
various mixed media productions. In 1974, he began writing for various unaccompanied instruments, to date his Solo Flight
series, is currently at eleven and climbing. He has created over fifty scores for modern dance and has composed music and
designed sound for as many theater productions.
A passionate educator, Yannelli's career quickly split into both creative and academic pursuits.
Once he discovered a love of both composing and teaching, he struck a balance between the challenges and demands of
teaching and his day-to-day creative work. He founded the Electronic Music Studio at Thomas Jefferson College
and joined the music faculty there in 1976. In addition to his work with electronic music, he developed a collaborative
program for musicians, dancers and actors to create work through improvisation. It was there that he first introduced
conducting with gestures, as a means of leading a group of performers to create a work spontaneously. He toured nationally as composer/accompanist
with the professional theater company United Stage, and he conceived of and introduced the use of live electronic music
in the productions.
He joined the music faculty at Sarah Lawrence College in 1983 and holds the William Schumann Chair in Music.
He is the Director of Electronic Music and Music Technology and teaches for the Music, Dance and Theater Programs
where he continues to explore and develop techniques for interdisciplinary collaboration. He has served as
Director of the Music Program for two terms and has directed the Sarah Lawrence College Chamber Improvisation
Ensemble since 1993. He is also an adjunct professor at Queensborough Community College, City University of New York.
John Yannelli was born in Philadelphia and studied at Grand Valley University, The University of Michigan,
Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. His teachers include Robert Schectman, William Doppmann, George Balch
Wilson, Leslie Bassett and Meyer Kupferman.
In addition to composing and teaching, Mr. Yannelli is an active record producer/engineer, having worked on projects for
such record labels as Serenus, Grenidilla, CRI, Nonsuch and Atlantic. In 1983 he co-founded Soundspells Productions, a
record/publishing company in which he produced and published countless recordings and scores before retiring ten years
Mr. Yannelli's music has been performed in major U.S., European and Russian cities, the Kennedy Center, and
throughout the New York metropolitan area including a concert at Carnegie Recital Hall devoted entirely to his music,
which received critical acclaim.
Recent works and commissions include Solo Flight 11 for violin, Muted Fantasy for Piano and Cello, Grazed by a Comet for
Disklaver, percussion and live electronics, Suite for Organ, Concerto for Electric Guitar and Entangled for flute,
bass clarinet, electronic guitar and muted piano which was premiered at the Interensemble Computer Music Festival in Padua, Italy.
John Yannelli's music is published by Soundspells Productions and John Yannelli Music (ASCAP).