John T. La Barbera

John La Barbera is a musical composer, arranger and plays guitar and mandolin.

La Barbera has performed at concert halls and music festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall, the Felt Forum, Alice Tully Hall, Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian Institution, UCLA, Field Museum in Chicago, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Francisco World Music Festival, Central Park Summer Stage and at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. He has toured tours throughout Eastern Europe, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and in Brazil, where he was sponsored by the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Brasil Festeiro and Serviço Social do Comércio, in São Paulo.

La Barbera holds a M.M. from William Paterson University and a B.M. from the University of Hartford Hartt School, and graduate courses at Hunter College (NYC) in ethnomusicology, Villa Schifanoia (Rosary College), in Florence, Italy and at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy, the film music seminar with Ennio Morricone.

He currently teaches at the Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey and has taught at the Hartt School, the Guitar Study Center of the New School in New York; Sessione Sienese, in Siena, Italy; SASI in Bratislava, Slovakia; and SESC in São Paulo, Brazil. He conducts workshops and lectures on mandolin and acoustic guitar styles, ethnomusicology, world music, and has written for Acoustic Guitar magazine[1]

Awards and commissions

La Barbera has won several awards and commissions for his musical compositions. From the Jerome Foundation, he was commissioned to write a work for the ETHOS Percussion ensemble, The Marimba’Ba Suite for percussion, which premiered in 2001 and released on their CD Sol Tunnels; in 1996 by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Martin Gruss Foundation , and the New York State Council on the Arts, to compose The Dance of the Ancient Spider , which premiered at Alice Tully Hall. Funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and Meet the Composer; commissioned by the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City to compose the Opera: Stabat Mater-Donna Di Paradiso; [2]

La Barbera's music has been recorded by various artists, including percussionists Yousef Sheronick and Joseph Gramley with Danza del Fuego for Marinba and Dumbeck ; jazz harmonica artist Enrico Granafei together with Fred Hersh , Alan Nussbaum and Mark Johnson, who recorded Waltz for Waiting. He has received numerous composer awards from ASCAP and his song Sun Goes Down was awarded Jazz finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest . In 2005, he was awarded for his role in the transmission and translation of Italian oral traditions from The Italian Oral History Institute and recognized as one of the first transcribers of Southern Italian folk music in United States. He is the author of Southern Italian Mandolin and Fiddle Tunes, Mel Bay Publications , to be released in early 2009.

Film composing credits

Film composing credits include: documentary film Sacco and Vanzetti (2007)[3] awarded best historical film from the American Historical Association;[4] Pane Amaro (2007) RAI-National Italian TV network ; What's Up Scarlet? (2006); ; Children of Fate (1992) nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Academy Award[5] and winner of the 1993 Sundance Film Festival;[6] La Festa, (1998); Tarantella, (1997) ; starring Mira Sorvino; Neapolitan Heart (2002) .

Theater credits

Theater credits as composer-musical director, include several off- Broadway productions: Souls of Naples, (2004) starring John Turturro, Theater for a New Audience at the New Duke Theater on 42nd Street;[7] Kaos (2006) produced by The New York Theater Workshop [8] Crazy Sounds (2006) produced at La MaMa theater NY ; Retzach (2005) at Theater 59 East 59th, NY; Missionaries (1997) La MaMa theater NY ; The Misadventures of Peter Pan and Captain Maledetto (1998), La MaMa Theater and Dario D`Ambrosi`s Teatro Patologico di Roma; After the Rain (1997)Theater 4-Red Hudson Company.

Composer of original Folk Operas

Stabat Mater: Donna di Paradiso (1995)[9] The Voyage of the Black Madonna (1990) The Dance of the Ancient Spider (1996) La Lupa- the She-Wolf (1987) The Adventures of Don Giovanni and His Servant Pulcinella (1987) La Cantata dei Pastori (1985)[10]

Film appearances

When In Rome, (band leader/mandolinist) directed by Mark Steven Johnson with Danny DeVito and Anjelica Huston. To be released in Spring `09. Neapolitan Heart (2002) , directed by Paulo Santoni , Ready Made productions, Italy, with Jimmy Roselli. The Moon in The Gutter (1983) , Jean-Jacques Bieneix , Gaumont-Cinecitta, Italy, with Gérard Depardieu.

Studio musician credits

As a studio musician in New York City, La Barbera has worked on jingles and soundtracks and performed and recorded with various musicians and singers including: American Folk Singer Judy Collins; Tsidii Le Loka, South African vocalist and star from Broadway’s The Lion King; Susan McKeown, , Irish Traditional Singer/Songwriter; Visual Artist Matthew Barney; Palestinian oud virtuoso and violinist, Simon Shaheen ; from Italy: Maria Carta, Pupi e Fressedde, and vocalist/percussionist Alessandra Belloni ; Brazilian guitar duo DUOFEL and guitarist Paulo Freire; Jazz artists Mark Gross and Mulgrew Miller ; master percussionist Glen Velez, and Yousif Sheronick ; Bansuri flutist Steve Gorn ; Russian vocalist Masha Itkina; Countertenor Robert Crowe ; and composer/organist of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine: Dorothy Papadakos.


His music has been recorded on Shanachie records , Meadowlark , Rounder Records , Lyrichord Disks , Ellipsis Arts and Bribie records.


  1. "Letter From Sao Paolo" Acoustic Guitar Magazine, October 1998.
  2. "Audience Joins Procession But Not the Flagellation" New York Times, April 10, 1995.
  3. "From Immigration to Anarchy" New York Times, March 29, 2007.
  4. John E. O'Connor Film Award, 2007 bestowed by American Historical Association
  5. 1994 Academy Award Nomination, Best Documentary: Feature, imDb
  6. awarded Grand Jury Prize: Documentary, 1993, List of Sundance Film Festival award winners
  7. "Tilting at Phantoms While the Home Fires Fizzle", New York Times, April 18, 2005.
  8. "Dance and Theater Lead the Way in the Stark Landscape of Pirandello's Sicily", New York Times, Dec. 5, 2006.
  9. "Audience Joins Procession But Not the Flagellation" New York Times, April 10, 1995.
  10. "Christmas Play", New York Times, Dec. 19, 1985.
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