John Thomas Bullock was born to a blind piano player and a violinist. He was brought up among musicians playing songs of Fats Waller, Bing Crosby, Hoagie Carmichael and many others of that era. One of these musicians gave Bullock his first guitar and, as he learned, he joined in some of their jam sessions. His next major influence was the Beatles. He began writing songs and also studied George Martin’s arranging and orchestration, which he believes is among the finest work ever done for pop music. As time went by, Bullock composed and arranged for and played with various bands in the New York area. After marrying and having children, he retired to his home studio and made many solo multi-track recordings of his songs.

Then Bullock discovered Beethoven! He began to study classical music intensively and started to compose instrumental music, incorporating many elements of the popular styles he grew up with. After much experimentation, Bullock spent several years studying counterpoint, harmony, orchestration and general composition with two college music professors, first Carlo Lombardi of Dowling College and then Sy Shaffer of the State University of New York. He then composed many pieces, including a sonata for clarinet and piano, a quartet for saxophones, and a symphony for chamber orchestra. He also began to arrange and orchestrate for other composers. Several of these pieces have been published nationally and performed in public including performances by the Miami Symphony Orchestra and violinist Jim Graseck.

In the mid-Eighties, Bullock first heard African popular music and began serious study of music from that continent. This later expanded to music of many other cultures from around the world.

When he moved to New Mexico in 1993, Bullock joined the board of the Placitas Artists Series, including four years as president. Through this organization he became involved with several classical musicians, including violist Willy Sucre. He was subsequently appointed Composer in Residence. His String Quartet in E minor was premiered by Willy Sucre and Friends to popular and critical acclaim. This was followed by equally successful premiers of his String Quartet # 2 in G minor, Quartet for Piano & Strings, and Silver Anniversary Overture or Pomp and Circumstances Beyond My Control. During this time, John composed, produced and performed two CDs of his own popular music, Smiling Again and Step into my Mind. He also produced, arranged, and performed the music for the CD Redes de Pasión by composer Marni Elci and lyricist/vocalist Eladia Luna. He has also composed and arranged music for the vocal group Musica Romantica and performed regularly with his band Cheap and Easy which played popular music from the 30's to the 90's, as well as John's compositions. John also produced and engineered 3 poetry/music CD’s by poet Gary Brower, composing the score to the 25 minute poem, Leaving Cairo: As if it were a Dream.

Most recently John has begun working in the film industry. He produced the musical score for the New Mexico Post Alliance promotional reel, and wrote the music for the song The Ghosts of San Francisco, lyrics by R. Christian Andersen, for  the film, When the World Came to San Francisco. The video of this song, sung by Chris Clark, won a Mixed Genre Jazz Film Award at the 2016 New York Jazz Film Festival. Bullock is also producing and engineering at the Halfway To Hell Recording Studio. He is currently pursuing film scoring opportunities.




Photos by D.R. Goff


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