John Gracie was born in Creetown, Kirkcudbrightshire, SW Scotland and started playing the cornet in the village brass band at the age of nine. He went on to study the trumpet with Harry MacAnespie at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formally the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama) from 1966-1969 and at the Guildhall School of Music with Bernard Brown.
Following his studies, John joined the BBC Training Orchestra in Bristol and during this time he also worked with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Sinfonietta.
In 1971 he was appointed Principal Trumpet with the Ulster Orchestra and in 1973 joined the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra in Manchester under Bryden Thomson, where he was promoted to Principal Trumpet in 1977. He also taught trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music and at Manchester University during this time and played regularly with the Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestras.
John returned to Scotland to take up his present position as Principal Trumpet in the RSNO. He has held this position for the last twenty eight years.
He is currently Professor of Trumpet at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and a member of the Paragon Ensemble, Chamber Group of Scotland, and the RSNO Brass Ensemble. He is also kept busy with other freelance engagements, when time allows and he appears regularly as a soloist with the RSNO.
John is director of The RSNO Brass Quintet which keeps busy in between RSNO concerts etc. The quintet is also involved in concerts and workshops with the RSNO education department and John regularly takes part in education projects, workshops and community work.
He is a regular Brass adjudicator in the Edinburgh and Ayrshire Music Festivals.
John is regularly invited to play Guest Principal Trumpet with the London Orchestras where he has undertaken several foreign tours and recording sessions playing under conductors such as Boulez, Tilson-Thomas, Sinopoli, Svetlanov, Abbado, Haitink Davis etc.