John A. Speight was born in England in 1945. He studied singing and composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London from 1964 - 1972. During this time he also studied composition privately with Richard Rodney Bennett. In 1972 he moved to Iceland and has lived there since, becoming an Icelandic citizen in 1980. In 1995 he was awarded a three year grant from the government of Iceland that enabled him to concentrate on composing. He spent 1996 - 1997 in the U.S.A. where he wrote his third symphony, Sam´s Mass and the work The Deacon of Myrka for narrator and chamber group as well as other pieces. The Deacon of Myrka was especially composed for the group "20th. Century Unlimited" in Santa Fé, New Mexico.
His list of compositions includes all kind of pieces from works for solo instruments to large scale orchestral pieces. Symphony Nr. 2 was selected and performed at the I.S.C.M. World Music Days in Warsaw 1992. Works by him have been regularly performed at the Nordic Music Days Festival; at the Arts Festival in Reykjavík and at the Dark Music Days Festival. His group of songs The Lady in White was premiered in New York in 1997 and has since been performed at the Edinborough ´fringe´festival and in Bulgaria and Sam´s Mass for solo soprano, solo oboe and mixed choir was first performed in England in 1998 and has since been performed in Iceland, Finnland and most recently in Paris and at the Ile de France festival 2004. John is,at the present, working on his fourth symphony
John was elected chairman of the Composer´s Society of Iceland in 1992 and held that post until 1995. During this time he was also president of the Nordic Composers Council and president of the Music Council of Iceland. As a singer he has given many song recitals, appeared as soloist with many chamber groups and sung opera roles at the Icelandic Opera Company and the National Theatre of Iceland. His Christmas Oratorio won the Icelandic Music Award 2003 as the composition of the year 2002.