Dr. John Vaughan is a pianist, entertainer, music professor and lecturer based in Taipei, Taiwan.
Since 2009, John has starred in the Performance Workshop comedy musical Just Play It. Combining classical music, the blues, comic dialogue, multimedia and dance, this heartwarming journey of the senses (performed in Mandarin Chinese) has met with rousing receptions in theaters throughout Taiwan and China. John’s relationship with Performance Workshop, Taiwan’s premiere theater troupe, dates back to 2000, when he composed the score for their first musical Welcome to Shangri-La. (A soundtrack CD was recorded on the Decca label.) He later arranged and recorded music for the plays The Village and The Comedy of Sex and Politics. Dr. Vaughan’s performances represent a wide range of styles and also include groundbreaking physical comedy at the piano in the tradition of Victor Borge.
Similarly, when teaching, he employs humor, visualization and the “circus arts” to bring his subject to life. An associate professor of piano at Soochow University in Taipei, he also guest lectures at universities and music schools across the country. In 2008, he began a continuing series of seminars on piano music at the Taipei Steinway Center. Tailored for professional pianists and piano instructors, these 2 hour lecture- performances attempt to present practical solutions to common problems faced in the teaching studio, while promoting a deeper exploration into the vast repertoire of piano music. To date, he has presented over 150 lectures at this venue.
His performances as soloist and in collaboration with other well-known instrumentalists have taken him to every city and all 15 counties on the island of Taiwan, as well as the offshore islands of Penghu and Jinmen. Since February 2011, he has written a column in Performance Arts Review, a monthly periodical.
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., John began his musical studies at age four at the Lancaster Conservatory of Music. John made his first appearance as soloist with orchestra at age 10. At 14 he performed at a concert celebrating International Year of the Child, and appeared as an accompanist in the ellipse of the White House in Washington D.C. His composition, Sunburst Overture, written at age 13, was performed by the Kennett Symphony Orchestra.
While studying at Oberlin Conservatory, where he was awarded the Dana Fellowship for accompanying, he won the top prize in numerous competitions, including the Louis Aikens-Charles Cadmen Piano Competition, the Penn/Mozarteum Piano Competition and the Dorothy Darr Robinson Piano Competition. He received his Master’s degree from University of the Arts in Philadelphia and, in 1993, he was awarded a Doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. His teachers have included Yoheved Kaplinsky, Julian Martin, Robert Shannon, Eleanor Sokoloff and Mary Vyner.
Dr. Vaughan has lived in Taipei, Taiwan since 1993. He has a wife, two daughters and an extensive menagerie of pets.