Official website of Kate St John

Welcome to the official website of Kate St John. Musician (oboe/cor anglais, sax, accordion, piano), composer, arranger, producer and solo artist. One time member of The Ravishing Beauties, psychedelic 80s band The Dream Academy, years recording and touring with Van Morrison and a member of Tom Waitsí Magic Bullets band for Robert Wilsonís Black Rider, she has been involved in many varied projects. In the last few years she has worked extensively with New York producer/curator Hal Wilner including concert tributes to Nino Rota as arranger/player, and the Dublin Came So Far For Beauty Leonard Cohen show, arranger and player in Jarvis Cockerís Meltdown Disney tribute and the Rogues Gallery shows.

In 2007 she was part of Damon Albarnís team producing the score for his Monkey: Journey To The West opera and toured the USA with Philip Glass as oboeist in The Book Of Longing. 2009-2010 she co produced and played on Kathryn Williams’s album The Quickening and is a member of Marianne Fatihfull’s live band.

Musical Director credits:
Rogues Gallery Sea Shanty shows in the UK in 2008 and Sydney 2010 with Lou Reed, Tim Robbins, Shane Macgowan, The Carthy/Waterson Clan, Todd Rundgren and many others.

The Folk Britannia Daughters of Albion series of concerts.

The Thompson 2008 family reunion Christmas show, A Not So Silent Night.

A Wainwright Family Christmas, Albert Hall 2009.

Way To Blue: a tribute to Nick Drake series of concerts with Joe Boyd.

An Evening of Political Song for Meltdown 2010, Festival Hall, curated by Richard Thompson.

As a composer and singer: On the All Saints label she released two solo albums, Indescribable Night and Second Sight, The Familiar with Roger Eno and two with the avant garde collective Channel Light Vessel with Roger Eno and Bill Nelson. She has co written with various people. Recently, she composed a new work for choir and 10 piece band at the Barbican based on the biblical plagues.

Arrangement credits include: Singer Bishi with the LSO strings, Kathryn Williams, Geraint Watkins, Tracey Thorn, Jaques Brel songs for Camille Oí Sullivan, new string arrangements for Nick Drake songs and Carl Barat.

Kate St John

April: Co wrote with Neill MacColl the music for Katrine Boorman's documentary about John Boorman Me and Me Dad which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.

June: wrote and recorded string/wind arrangements for Jim Lauderdale.

August: Performed with Peggy Seeger in Hal Wilner's Freedom Rides Show at The Festival Hall in Anthony Hegarty's Meltdown.


Extensively toured and promoted Marianne Faithfull's Horses and High Heels album.

Toured with Mike Scott and The Waterboys on their An appointment with Mr. Yeats shows and played on the subsequent album.

Recorded with Nick Lowe and Richard Hawley.

August: Performed and arranged Nino Rota music at the 2011 Venice Biennale

September: Performed with The Bible for their reunion shows.

November: Performed the Nick Drake Way To Blue show in Sydney and Melbourne.


January: Nick Drake Way to Blue shows in Glasgow, Brighton, London and Warwick, filmed for BBC4. Rogues Gallery and Marianne Faithfull Tour in Australia.

February: Tour for Kathryn Williams' album The Quickening.

June: MD for An Evening of Political Song at Richard Thompson's Meltdown Festival.

September: Tim Robbins tour.

October:  Way To Blue shows in Italy and the UK.


Kate is part of Marianne Faithfull’s band promoting her latest album Easy Come Easy Go. For a list of tour dates see:

In May Kate was Musical Director for a Nick Drake tribute show curated by Joe Boyd at Birmingham Town Hall featuring Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton, Graham Coxon and others. As well as Kate the house band was Neill Maccoll, Zoe Rahman, Leo Abrahams, Martyn Barker and Danny Thompson. The opening piece was an instrumental overture version of Joey with strings arranged by Kate, which can be seen on YouTube. In December she was MD for the Wainwright/McGarrigle Christmas Show at the Albert Hall.

2008 saw the resurrection of the Daughters of Albion concert at Birmingham and the Brighton Festival and a set of string arrangements for singer Bishi and the London Symphony Orchestra that was performed at St. Lukes in June. In July Kate was Musical Director for Hal Wilner’s Rogue’s Gallery Sea Shanty concerts in Dublin, Gateshead and London which featured amonst others, Lou Reed, Shane MacGowan, Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson and actor Tim Robbins.

In November Kate co produced and played on Kathryn Williams’ new album. In December she was part of the Barbican’s Twisted Christmas show and Musical Director of the Thompson Family Christmas reunion show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. As an arranger she worked with Tracey Thorn and Geraint Watkins.
In 2007 Kate was worked with Damon Albarn producing the score and parts for his and Jamie Hewlitt's opera
Monkey: Journey To The West for the Manchester International Festival and the Chatelet Theatre in Paris.
Kate played oboe and Cor anglais in the ensemble for Philip Glass's work The Book of Longing which featured settings of Leonard Cohen's poems for singers and small instrumental ensemble. The world premier was in Toronto at the Luminata festival June 1-3 2007 and was also performed in Charleston's Spoleto festival June 6-8, Chicago's Ravinia festival June 12-13 and the Lincoln Center festival July 14-15 2007.
In May 2007 Kate played with Damon Albarn and Vashti Bunyan at the Barbican’s Syd Barrett tribute. In July she took part in the Jarvis Cocker/Hal Wilner Meltdown Disney tribute concert at the Festival Hall in which her arrangement of Little April Showers was performed by Skye from Morcheeba, Ed Harcourt and the orchestra. In November she composed a work for the Plague Song concert at the Barbican for choir and 10 piece band.
Kate was part of the band for Tom Waits' The Black Rider showing at the Los Angeles Ahmanson Theatre, end of April to mid-June 2006. She has also performed in London, San Francisco and Sydney as part of the band.
In spring 2006 Kate put together and played in the band for the London sessions of Hal Wilner's Sea Shanty album Rogues Gallery, working with amongst others Nick Cave and Bryan Ferry.
Kate was Musical Director of the sell out Daughters Of Albion show at London's The Barbican, part of their Folk Britannia series. The concert, which received glowing reviews, featured Norma Waterson, Eliza Carthy, June Tabor, Kathryn Williams, Lou Rhodes and Sheila Chandra backed by a 9 piece band playing Kate's arrangements of traditional and new folk/crossover songs. It was shown on BBC 4 in March 2006. Read reviews>>

On April 24th 2004 Kate performed as a guest artist and arranger at Hal Wilner's Perfect Partners tribute to Nino Rota at London's Barbican as part of their Only Connect series of concerts. Read reviews>>

For both 2002 and 2003 Kate was selected as one of 12 judges for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize and appeared on national TV discussing her views on the nominees.

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