John Barnes Chance

John Barnes Chance

John Barnes Chance

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John Barnes Chance (November 20, 1932 – August 16, 1972) was a composer, born in Beaumont, Texas. Chance studied composition with Clifton Williams at the University of Texas, Austin, and is best known for his concert band works, which include Variations on a Korean Folk Song, Incantation and Dance, and Blue Lake Overture. Many of his works are written for young musicians, particularly those written between 1960 and 1962, when he was composer-in-residence in the Greensboro, North Carolina public school system—specifically at Greensboro Senior High School (now Grimsley Senior High School) under the supervision of Herbert Hazelman—as part of the Ford Foundation Young Composers Project.

Before he became a full-time composer, Chance played timpani with the Austin Symphony and later was an arranger for the Fourth and Eighth U.S. Army bands. Chance taught at the University of Kentucky from 1966 until his death in 1972. In August 1972, Chance was airing a tent in his garden when a metal pole contacted an electrified fence used to confine his dogs. Chance was accidentally electrocuted and died at 12:40 p.m. at Central Baptist Hospital from cardiac arrest. He and his wife Linda had two children.


  • Symphony No. 1, orchestra (1956)
  • Overture to a Fairy Tale, orchestra (1957)
  • Credo, trumpet and piano (1959)
  • Incantation and Dance, concert band (1960)
  • Fiesta! orchestra (1960)
  • Satiric Suite, string orchestra (1961)
  • Blessed are They that Mourn, from Biblical text,......
  • ...

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