The English choral conductor, pianist, organist, teacher, and composer, John Dexter, studied in his teens conducting and composition with Edwin Roxburgh. He studied at Oxford University, Jesus College (Organ scholar, 1972-1975); London University, Goldsmiths' College (Postgrad Cert Ed, 1976-1977); St Paul's Cathedral London (Organ scholar, 1975-1977); Royal College of Music, London (Orchestral conducting, 1975-1976). He conducted the Guildford Singers; he sang a specially commissioned solo work for Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother and, at the age of 16; he was awarded his first diploma, ARCO.
As a student in Oxford he was Conductor of the Kodály Choir (1973-1974) and Assistant Director of Schola Cantorum of Oxford (1974-1975). He was Organ teacher at Royal College of Music, London (Junior Dept) (1975-1976). John Dexter learnt his trade through accompanying and singing in choirs (1972-1977). He has worked as rehearsal accompanist for Martindale Sidwell, John Eliot Gardiner, John Alldis, Ian Humphris, John Poole and Barry Rose, for the BBC Singers, Monteverdi Choir and London Philharmonic Choir. He sang in Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields Chorus under Neville Marriner, Collegium Musicum under László Heltay, Schola Cantorum of Oxford under Nicholas Cleobury, Proteus Choir under Vernon Handley, Brighton Festival Chorus under Rudolf Kempe and Antal Doráti and London Symphony Chorus under Gergiev. He accompanied the Kathleen Ferrier Competition in the Wigmore Hall, London, Helga Mott’s singing lessons and master-classes; made recordings with BBC Singers; was pianist RAM and RCM Conducting Classes; was repetiteur Oxford University Opera Club.
John Dexter's teaching posts include: Part-time music teacher at Mater Dei Institute, Dublin (1981-1986); Part-time lecturer at University College Dublin (1986-1989); Part-time lecturer at Church of Ireland Theological College (1982-1989). From 1977 to 2001 he was Organist and Master of the Choristers in St Patrick’s Cathedral and from 1989 to 2014 Director of Music in the Cathedral Grammar School. He conducted the Guinness Choir from 1984 to 1991 and John Dexter Harmony (JDH) from 2001 to 2008.
John Dexter is Musical Director and Conductor of the Goethe-Institut Choir, Dublin (since 1998), Co-Director of Dublin County Choir (since 1995) and Organist at Whitechurch Church (since 2001). Since September 2014, he is also Adjunct Teaching Professor at Trinity College Dublin, part-time lecturer in Counterpoint.
As a composer, most of his work has been in the area of arranging and adapting music for St Patrick’s Cathedral, for John Dexter Harmony and for his family ensemble. The Goethe-Institut Choir commissioned a new work Hilariter from him for its 40th Anniversary Concert in the National Concert Hall in December 2005.