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John F. Mahoney
September 16, 1953 ~ December 11, 2023 (age 70) 70 Years Old
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John F. Mahoney, 70, of Mahoney Way, passed away at his home on Monday, December 11, 2023.
Born on September 16, 1953, in Weymouth, MA, he was the son of the late George W. and Catherine (Moog) Mahoney. John grew up in Weymouth attending parochial school where he began taking piano lessons at age 6 or 7. He later sat in on rehearsals and played some live gigs with George’s weekend jazz band, The North River Rats. He attended Weymouth North High, graduating with the Class of 1971. While in high school, he gravitated to the free spirited members of the music program, playing piano and learning to play the accordion. He also got involved in the political movements of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Those experiences influenced him to pursue music upon graduation.
He was accepted to the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Music degree in Piano Performance in 1976. He then moved to New York City where he hustled to break into the industry, playing piano during auditions of aspiring singers and actors/actresses and anything else he could do to earn money and network. He continued his formal education at the Manhattan School of Music where in 1979 he earned a Master’s of Music degree in Piano Accompanying.
His big break came when he got a call to go to the Music Box Theatre on Broadway where he started as a rehearsal pianist for Side by Side by Sondheim. Soon an opening led to an onstage role. He went on to play on many other Broadway smash hits including La Cage aux Folles and Evita, which in 1979 won the Tony Award for Best Musical. He was later hired by New England Digital where he mastered their cutting edge digital synthesizer, the Synclavier. That led to collaborations with Sting, Stevie Wonder, Frank Zappa and many others. Atlantic Records later set him up in a dedicated studio with the Synclavier to produce and engineer music. His credits include recordings with numerous artists, including Paul Simon’s Graceland in 1986 (1987 Grammy winner for Album of the Year) and Billy Joel’s Storm Front (1990 Grammy winner for Record of the Year).
The music recording industry began to change due to corporate takeovers that restricted studio freedoms and creativity. Atlantic Records was acquired by Time Warner which was later acquired by AOL. At this time, John decided to go back to school to study music therapy. He attended New York University and earned a Master’s of Arts Degree in Music Therapy in 2001 and then his Ph.D. in Music Therapy from Temple University in 2012. He was a music therapist and clinical supervisor at Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at NYU. Later, while serving as its Music Therapy Program Director, SUNY New Paltz was named in 2016 as the top music therapy master’s program in the United States.
In 1981, John purchased land at Camp Greylock, the site of a former girl’s camp in the Adirondack State Park overlooking Raquette Lake. With the help of his best friend Brian Johnson, whom he met at Hartt School of Music, he slowly built his getaway home as an escape from Manhattan. Over time, it expanded to become a year-round home that was his sanctuary. He moved there permanently in late 2020. As his health began to decline, he not so jokingly said that the only way he’d leave his home “was in a box”.
John had a brilliant mind and worked tirelessly to establish multiple successful careers. He deeply loved his four children. He enjoyed reading and traveling to France to visit his mother’s family in Alsace Lorraine and to see the sites of Paris.
He was predeceased by his parents.
Survivors include his children: Musa, Oceana, Mio, and Lynden; two brothers: Paul and his wife Ghislaine Mahoney of Hampton, NJ, and their children Sean, Patrick, and Caroline; and Kevin and his wife Mary Mahoney of Weymouth, MA.
The family plans to have a Celebration of Life in the Adirondacks in the spring.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Adirondack Foundation (www.adirondackfoundation.org) in his name.