John Owen was born in 1955 and studied composition privately with Richard Rodney Bennett from the age of 14, and then at the University of York where he worked with David Blake, Bernard Rands and Elisabeth Lutyens. His output from this time includes a string quartet, an extensive work for three violas and a wind quintet. Soon after leaving University he decided to concentrate on music administration. He was Director of the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies and then worked as Director of Artistic Planning for the Hallé Orchestra, and he has been a Director of Owen White Management for over 30 years. While working in Aldeburgh he wrote a quintet for ondes Martenot and strings and a song cycle for soprano and clarinet.
He has recently started writing again and in 2022 has composed a wind sextet, a song cycle on Rossetti Sonnets for mezzo, flute and string trio, and a second string quartet.