John M. Ware was born July 6, 1942, in Two Rivers, WI, and grew up in Huntington, IN. He studied piano for a few years and tried composing little pieces, but was apparently destined to be a math major at Indiana U until he heard a student piano recital and changed his choice of major. He studied music composition at IU with Thomas Beversdorf and Bernhard Heiden, gaining the B.M. and M.M. degrees. He taught a year at Huntington College (now University), where he met and married his wife, Emily C. Ware (1944-2014). Their son, Philip, was born in 1973. Mr. Ware taught at the U. of Tennessee at Martin before beginning the Ph.D. in Music History and Literature at Louisiana State U., with a minor in composition, which he studied with Dr. Kenneth B. Klaus. He completed the degree in 1978 after teaching at Middle Tennessee State U., the University of Wisconsin-Superior, and the University of the South at Sewanee, TN. After four years at Indiana State U., he taught a year at Old Dominion University, while Emily took a position at the English Language Center, teaching ESL. Dr. Ware entered real estate, becoming an associate broker and an Instructor of Principles of Real Estate, in which capacity he wrote a textbook on Virginia real estate law. He also entered journalism, reviewing concerts throughout the Hampton Roads region. He performed as church organist at two major churches in Norfolk.
In 1990 Dr. Ware became Executive Director of the Tidewater Ballet Association, devising and implementing the first (so far only) full concert series presented by the TBA in its history. He was fired after ten months but re-entered college music teaching at Virginia Union University in Richmond, spending ten years there, seven of them as Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts (Music, Art, Drama). He continued composing music, including several processional marches for ceremonies at VUU. From 1999 to 2011 he was Organist/Choirmaster at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Mechanicsville, VA, where he wrote more choral and organ music. In 2002, after leaving VUU, he became an administrator at Beta Tech, a proprietary school; in 2007, he began teaching English at West End Christian School in Hopewell, VA, which continued until 2010. In retirement he continued writing music and raising daylilies (15,000 plants so far) in his garden. At present he is choir director and head of the board of elders at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Richmond. In 2015 he recorded (in memory of his wife) a CD of fourteen of his piano pieces.