A composer with a real theatrical sense: these scenes, looking so simple on the page, work in the theater — powerful, evocative, unequivocal, emotional… some ideas, some motivic ideas especially, linger in the consciousness. Grimmett is gifted, of this there is no doubt. His theatrical sense is as rare as it is palpable.
— The American Prize Jury, 2015
Photo by Daniel Zajicek.

Photo by Daniel Zajicek.

JOHN GRIMMETT (b. 1988) is a composer, writer and director.

His work has been performed internationally by the Washington National Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and the Baltic Chamber Opera Theatre as well as at universities and conservatory training programs across the United States. An author of musical theatre, art songs, plays, and poetry, Mr. Grimmett is the recipient of the 2014 Festival Award in Opera from the Boston-International Contempo Festival for Part of the Act and the 2015 runner-up for The American Prize in Composition (Opera, Theater and Film Division) for Rain Down the Ruin.

Mr. Grimmett’s mentors include Edward Albee, Jake Heggie, and David Ashley White. A graduate of the Moores School of Music at the University of Houston, he also studied at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at New York University, where he was a recipient of the Max Dreyfus Award from the ASCAP Foundation in recognition of his talent as a musical theatre composer.

Recent collaborations include Rain Down the Ruin, a musical with 2015 Kleban Prize finalist Jason Carlson; an arrangement commissioned by soprano Ann Moss for Chanticleer on Moss’ upcoming album, Love Life; Regrets Only, a song cycle for Moss and cellist Emil Miland; a viola sonata for violist Justin Ouellet; the libretto for And Jill Came Tumbling After, a chamber opera with music by Charles Halka; the libretto for Nothing in the Nothingness, a chamber opera with music by Daniel Zajicek; and the libretto for Finite Differences, a song cycle with Kenneth Froelich for soprano Ann Moss and the Hausmann Quartet.

Upcoming works include the children’s opera, Henry the Steinway (based on the children’s books of the same name); a commission by the Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra on a concert funded by the National Endowment for the Arts for October 2017; and The State of Jefferson, an opera with music by Kenneth Froelich and commissioned by the Fresno State Opera Theater for their 2018-2019 season.

During the academic year, Mr. Grimmett leads the theatre program at Dawson High School in the Pearland Independent School District (Pearland, TX). He is also a teaching artist for the Red Door Theatre Company (Pasadena, TX) and the Director of Educational Programming for CMASH, a new music repertory group dedicated to establishing long-term collaborative relationships between composers and performers and welcoming new audiences to the genre of contemporary chamber music. When not teaching, he lives in New York City.

Mr. Grimmett is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America and is represented by Seven Eight Artists Management.



  • 2018 Fresno State Opera Theater Commission

  • 2017 Fort Bend Symphony Orchestra Commission

  • 2015 The American Prize in Composition (Opera, Theater and Film Division) - 2nd Place

  • 2015-2016 CMASH Commission

  • 2015 Frontiers Showcase and Competition (Fort Worth Opera) with Charles Halka

  • 2014 CDP Series Production (NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program)

  • 2014 Festival Award in Opera, Boston-International Contempo Festival (Boston Metro Opera)

  • 2013 Sarbievijaus Cultural Center Commission (Baltic Chamber Opera Theatre) with Charles Halka

  • 2013 ASCAP Foundation Marvin Hamlisch Broadway Conductors Program

  • 2012 ASCAP Foundation Max Dreyfus Scholar

  • 2012 American Opera Initiative Commission (Washington National Opera)

  • 2012 New York Avant-Garde Arts Festival Finalist (Variations Theatre Group)