Class Notes & Profiles

Balance of Opposites

By Daniel Steckenberg ’06

John Stone ’92 probably didn’t major in English and philosophy at Vassar with the expectation that he would eventually become a composer/performer in children’s theater.

Though he was always interested in composition, it took a few years out of college and a conversation with Vassar Professor of Philosophy Mitch Miller to convince Stone to follow his passion full time. Since then he has worked with dance companies (he cofounded Ariane Anthony & Company in New York), in the theater (he scored Vanessa Redgrave’s production of Antony and Cleopatra), and on TV.

Stone’s main gig since the ’04–’05 season has been composing for the Paper Bag Players, a troupe based in New York which tours the country entertaining children. As part of his duties he travels with the group and performs keyboard during its shows.

Stone says that seeing 1,000 children dance and sing to his music is “something I can never tire of,” but he has other reasons for loving the Paper Bag Players. “I have always sought balance of opposites in my life,” says Stone, “and so going from playing a rousing concert for five year olds to practicing the most melancholic or complex pieces of Bach keeps both the pessimist and optimist in me in constant check. Nothing veers out of control when its opposite is never far behind.”