A native of Houston, Texas, John Axelrod graduated 'cum laude' in 1984 from Houston's St. John's School. He went on to Harvard University where he completed a Bachelor's Degree in Music in 1988 and had the opportunity to study with a host of musicians and teachers. His composition teachers included Peter Lieberson, Ivan Tcherepnin and Leonard Bernstein.

He studied classical piano with Roberto Eyzaguirre and jazz performance and orchestration with Craig Najjar and Lyle Mays.

His conducting teachers have included Christoph Eschenbach, Ilya Musin, Gustav Meier, Daniel Lewis, Mendi Rodan and Jorge Mester.

John Axelrod is founder, Artistic Director and Conductor of Orchestra X in Houston. He is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Sinfonietta Cracovia, in Krakow, Poland, where he has completed recordings of Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and Piano Concerto No. 3 for CD Accord and Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 and Piano Concerto No. 1 with Christoph Eschenbach as soloist.

As a composer, John Axelrod has composed song cycles to the poetry of Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman and James Fenton. His composition How Do I Love Thee represents his first chamber opera. In addition, John Axelrod is currently at work collaborating with librettist Shalom Goldman on an opera based on the story of Adam and Eve.

John Axelrod was recently awarded the Pacesetter Award by Fast Company Magazine and was named one of Houston's 25 Power People by Inside Houston Magazine. He also finds the time to retain membership of Leadership Houston Class XVIII and serves on the Artistic Advisory Councils of the Weave Dance Company and the Houston AIDS Foundation.