John Grant was born in 1953, Toronto, Canada. His father and mother were accomplished amateur musicians, and all five of the Grant brood were encouraged in music and in the visual arts. John started playing the piano as soon as he could reach the keyboard and his first teacher, at age 6, was his mother. He finished is formal training at the Royal Conservatory of Music at age 16, working at that time towards his A.R.T.C. (Associate of the Conservatory). He continued less frequent and less formal lessons from his lifelong teacher, Marta Tuters, until he was in his early twenties. Since then he has played the piano almost every day of his life. He loves Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich. But most of all he loves Bach.
John's Well-tempered Clavier is based on a version that he completed in the mid 1990s and first uploaded at "MP3.COM." He uses "virtual" piano, a Bosendorfer 290, every note of which has been pre-recorded at 8 levels of intensity. He then edits each prelude and fugue using MIDI technology. Some of the preludes and fugues are very close to their "raw" state, that is, just as John played them; others are edited extensively.
Modern classical recording technology makes ample use of computer splicing and editing to correct mistakes or simply to change aspects of an interpretation. There is nothing new in this. MIDI does the same thing, but it permits much more detailed editing. (Glenn Gould, had he lived longer, would have embraced the technology.) John's interpretation of Book 1 of the Well-tempered Clavier is the first Internet version of Bach's "keyboard bible" to use MIDI editing coupled with sampled piano technology. It is also probably the most listened to account of the Well-tempered on the Internet, with about 1 million downloads of individual preludes and fugues from the MP3.COM and other smaller sites, prior to appearing at Piano Society.
Where MIDI technology is used extensively, as it is in many of John's interpretations, it raises questions both practical and philosophical about the aesthetic validity of the result. Is the result "music"? John's view is that in the end you have to listen to the music and decide for yourself.
John has a Ph.D. in philosophy and education, and is a practising lawyer. He is also interested in issues of social justice and equality. He and his partner live in Toronto with one child and one diminutive canine companion named "Ruby."
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