Regarded as one of Britain’s finest concert guitarists, and a performer of international repute, John Mills began learning the instrument at the age of nine. He subsequently studied with John Williams at the Royal College of Music, London, and with Julian Bream and Andrés Segovia, in master-classes in England and Spain respectively. Segovia later commented that Mr Mills playing "had purity of technique and musical sensitivity".
In 1970, he was a prize-winner in the Greater London Arts Association search for talented young performers, and he then made his official London debut at the Wigmore Hall the following year. His international debut came in 1972 with a tour of Eastern Canada, and he has since given hundreds of performances in North America, Europe, Scandinavia, S. E. Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as a vast number of recitals on the British circuit.
Since the early 1970’s, John Mills has performed often on BBC radio broadcasts. He was the first guitarist to perform in the then newly-built Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, and has appeared many times in recitals and chamber music concerts at the Purcell Room and Wigmore Hall. Also in demand around the world for master-classes and seminars, his books "Music from the Student Repertoire" and "The John Mills Guitar Tutor" are best-sellers. John Mills has also contributed much to the development of a high-quality student guitar, working in combination with the Japanese company Asturias.
Between 1985 and 1988, John Mills and his wife, concert guitarist Cobie Smit, resided in New Zealand, based at the Nelson School of Music. In addition to a huge number of concerts and broadcasts, they also played to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip at a two-hour special reception in Nelson.
John Mills is currently Coordinator of Guitar Studies at the Welsh College of Music & Drama, Cardiff, a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London, and visiting lecturer at Christ Church College, Canterbury. He is an Associate of both the R.C.M. and R.A.M., and is a Fellow of the City of Leeds College of Music.