John Mortensen is a leader in the international revival of historic improvisation. Appearing frequently as concert artist and masterclass teacher at colleges and universities in America and Europe, he is noted for his ability to improvise entire concerts in historic styles, including complex compositions such as Baroque fugues.
He is the author of The Pianist’s Guide to Historic Improvisation (Oxford University Press, 2020), the world’s best-selling book in the field of historic keyboard improvisation, now in use as a course text at many leading conservatories. His newest book, forthcoming this year, is Improvising Fugue.
In 2017 he was selected as a Fulbright Specialist by the US Department of State to serve as an international artistic ambassador on behalf of the American people. In 2018 he toured Europe for three months, performing and teaching improvised music at conservatories across the continent.
In 2019 the State Department named him a Fulbright Global Scholar in Historic Improvisation, leading to performances and teaching at the national conservatories of Lithuania, Latvia, The United Kingdom, Denmark, and Canada.
He is the creator of Improv Planet, an online school of historic improvisation, where his students include concert artists and conservatory faculty from across the world.
He serves as professor of piano at Cedarville University in Ohio. In 2016 he was named Faculty Scholar of the Year, that institution’s highest award.