John is a Clarinet tutor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
John Cushing grew up in Liverpool. He began playing the clarinet at the age of thirteen and, after leaving school, studied with Sidney Fell at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he was awarded the Hiles Medal. He later continued his studies in London with John McCaw.
After five years as Principal Clarinet with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, John was appointed Principal Clarinet with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 1978. Since then he has appeared as a soloist with the Orchestra on many occasions, and has an extensive Concerto repertoire, including James Macmillan’s Ninian, which was written for and dedicated to him which is now released on the BIS label to great critical acclaim.
As well as performing the world debut of the Ninian Concerto, John has given several other world and Scottish première performances of works for solo clarinet and chamber ensemble, including pieces by Sweeney, Adams, Ted Kirk and again James Macmillan, this time a piece for clarinet alone – From Galloway which is also dedicated to him.
John Cushing has a particular interest in chamber and contemporary music. Over the years he has been a member of and played with groups as diverse as Paragon, Allander and Hebrides Ensembles, many string quartets and the clarinet, soprano and piano trio Vocalise. He is currently particularly busy in the Phoenix wind trio with Katherine Bryan (flute) and David Hubbard (Bassoon) as well as the wind quintet Primi whose players are members of both the RSNO and Halle.
John has taught clarinet at the Conservatoire since 1978 and gives masterclasses and recitals throughout the country, primarily with pianist Scott Mitchell.