In spite of the fact that he is still alive, John Lampkin is finding modest success as a composer. In a review of his Portraits series for piano, Piano Quarterly wrote, "...[John Lampkin] is incredibly gifted with a wonderful sense of humor." Which proves it. Portraits was also cited in the millennium issue of Piano & Keyboard magazine as one of the significant educational collections of the 20th century. The list of 60 composers included Debussy, Bartok, Copland, Schoenberg, etc., all of whom had an unfair advantage because they were already dead.
Critics have looked beneath the humor to find seriousness and intelligent musical thought. His Insects: a Musical Entomology in Six Legs for woodwind quintet won the Grand Prize in the Composer Guild's competition in 2001. In review of the premiere, the Austin press wrote, "it eschews the academic dryness of the past century yet supplies a wealth of innovative textures, rhythms and harmonies. [Lampkin]... has craftily woven musical visualizations of fleas, ants, fireflies and cockroaches into a delightful and accessible musical confection." His Piano Concerto won First Prize in the orchestral division in the Composer Guild's 1999 competition, and Migrations won Second Prize in 2004. He has written for and served as composer-in-residence with the Austin Chamber Ensemble, the Equinox Chamber Players in St. Louis, the Minnesota Music Teachers Association, and the Hudson Valley Piano Club. He has delivered hundreds of lectures and presentations to music organizations, conventions, schools, and general audiences across the country, and has received many grants from Meet the Composer and the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
As a private piano teacher, he has inspired hundreds of students, and many have established successful musical careers, winning a total of four Tony Awards among them. He has served four terms as president of the Rockland County [NY] Music Teachers Guild, and is also on the board of the Professional Music Teachers Guild of New Jersey.