‘We were deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden death of a dear colleague and friend, John Ashton Thomas. John was a phenomenal musician and pedagogue, as well as a hugely inspirational and popular figure during his many years teaching in the Jazz Department. He ignited endless musical possibilities for generations of our students. Unbound by stylistic confines he celebrated and created music across all genres as though it was the most natural endeavour in the world.

‘John stepped down from his Academy post as the much-loved teacher of Jazz Aural and Transcription to pursue career opportunities in Los Angeles, but he remained in close contact with all of us here and continued to visit and teach on occasions. An award-winning composer, orchestrator and conductor, John’s passing leaves an irreplaceable void in the music industry. But above all, as a wonderful human being and mentor to aspiring young artists, John possessed the rarest kind of passion, generosity and skill from which all of us can only feel supremely lucky to have benefitted. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues around the world.’