John hails from Greenock and maintains a strong affinity with the West of Scotland, despite making London his home since his college days.
He studied at the Royal College of Music under Herbert Howells and Sir Adrian Boult. Subsequently he has divided his career between composing, conducting, playing and teaching - mainly at Westminster School, becoming Director of Music there in 1983 and then Composer-in-Residence from 1996 - 1999.
After a career largely spent in the environs of Westminster Abbey, John now enjoys working in Wandsworth Common. Besides composing and teaching, he is organist and choirmaster at the local church, St Mary Magdalene.
John is passionate about music and it matters to him that we Voices understand what it is we sing, and how it all fits together - both technically and musically. He is very patient with the choir - he excels in guiding us through new and difficult pieces. He cleverly conveys complex rhythms and concepts in a way that is simple, memorable and easy to learn. So the choir will often be found hand-clapping and thigh-slapping during rehearsals to figure out a puzzling time
signature, and tricky off-beat rhythms can easily be fixed with a 'Glo-ho-ho-ho-ria'!
John Baird is patient, funny and inspirational - his dynamism and drive give the choir its impetus.