Born in Philadelphia, John began formal studies in piano and composition at age 13. His voracious appetite for books, led to the discovery of a collection scores and recordings at his local library, which soon became his home away from home. "I spent a significant portion of my youth wearing a pair of headphones immersed in library recordings of Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Bach." Hodian commandeered the family piano and began writing what would later become the distinct rhythmic and melodic style that has been heard in his Emmy award winning music around the world. "I've always been a composer, my very first experiences at the piano involved making things up as opposed to re-creating the music of others. And I've been really lucky in that I never had to do anything else but write music for a living."
He received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in composition and conducting at The Philadelphia College for the Performing Arts where he studied with Max Rudolf, Theodore Antoniou, Robert Morris, Joseph Castaldo and Andrew Rudin. John also spent several summers at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado where he studied piano and improvisation with Art Lande, Ralph Towner as well as literature and poetry with Allen Ginsberg and William Burroughs.
While teaching composition and music theory at the University of the Arts, John was conductor of the Philadelphia New Music Ensemble and associate conductor of The Philadelphia Youth Orchestra. In 1984, John went on to found the first fully digital music studio in Philadelphia where he began his career in film and television scoring. Over the past 15 years he has scored over 250 documentary films and in 1992 he won the New York Emmy Award for "Best Music For a Documentary." In 1990 John founded Epiphany Records to promote and release recordings of innovative composers and songwriters.
John's music has been heard in Emmy award-winning soundtracks for feature films and documentaries, commissioned scores for dance companies, and chamber music works, stage dramas and music-theater pieces. His music-theater piece, "Sweet Theresiendstadt," produced by En Garde Arts and Theater Archa, played for a year in Prague before touring to Warsaw and Berlin. In addition to being selected as resident composer for the Sundance Theater Institute, John has collaborated with leading theater figures such as Anne Bogart and Israel Horowitz.
John is currently working on a large scale music-theater piece entitled "Spirits" based on the life of the French playwright Antonin Artaud. "Spirits" was the winner of The New Dramatist Frederick Lowe award for music theater and is slated for a workshop in the near future. Along with Bet Williams he leads Epiphany Project and is also collaborating with her on the music theater piece "Postcards from Beulah."