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John Kavanaugh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John William Kavanaugh
John W. Kavanaugh
Alma materRollins College

John William Kavanaugh is an American composer, lyricist and musical director who is currently serving as songwriter for Disney Television Animation.[1] He is the recipient of 8 Emmy nominations and was awarded the 2014 Daytime Emmy Award for Sofia The First Main Title theme song with co-lyricist Craig Gerber.[2] While working on Sofia The First, John was tapped to write songs for Disney's First Latina princess, the award-winning Elena of Avalor. John penned the songs and served as music director on the series Alice's Wonderland Bakery which premiered in February of 2022. In 2023, he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Original Song with co-writers Chelsea Beyl and Marisa Evans Sanden.

His songs can also be heard in several hit movies, including Disney's Descendants 3 (My Once Upon a Time), Winnie The Pooh film Springtime with Roo and Nickelodeon's Globehunters.[3][4] He co-wrote the scores to Curious George Live for NBC Universal, Dreams are Universal for Universal Studios Japan, Flintstones: The Musical for Universal Studios Hollywood, as well as numerous songs for Sesame Street Live and Tokyo DisneySea.[5] With lyricist Marcy Heisler, John wrote the song Joseph's Lullaby for Michael Crawford which appears on his album On Eagle's Wings.

Personal life


John, (John William Kavanaugh) is the son of Edward Houston Kavanaugh and Eileen Kirby Gunn and is the youngest of six children. He grew up in Norfolk, Virginia and developed his passion for music by watching his mother play the piano and create/direct many variety shows in Norfolk. He graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida and began working at Disney World in 1983. He then moved to Los Angeles in 1986 to work for Disneyland where he soon began his composing career writing for theatre, theme parks worldwide and eventually for television.

He is married to Efren Gonzalez and resides in Los Angeles, California.


Year Award Song Category/Award Shared with Result
2023 Children's & Family Emmy Awards "The Hat Makes The Hatter"

"Alice's Wonderland Bakery: It's the Hatter that Matters"

Outstanding Original Song for a Preschool Program Marisa Evans-Sanden and Chelsea Beyl Nominated
2021 Daytime Emmy Awards "Something In The Air"

"Elena of Avalor: Sweetheart's Day"

Outstanding Original Song in a Preschool, Children's or Animated Program Rachel Ruderman and Craig Gerber Nominated
2020 Daytime Emmy Awards "Never Leave",

"Elena of Avalor: Movin' on Up"

Outstanding Original Song in a Children's, Young Adult or Animated Program Jeffrey M. Howard and Craig Gerber Nominated
2019 Daytime Emmy Awards "For One And All",

"Sofia the First: Forever Royal"

Outstanding Original Song in a Children's or Animated Program Craig Gerber Nominated
2019 Daytime Emmy Awards "Fallin' Like a Rock",

"Elena of Avalor: A Lava Story"

Outstanding Original Song in a Children's or Animated Program Craig Gerber, Silvia Olivas and Kerri Grant Nominated
2019 Kidscreen Awards Elena of Avalor Creative Talent Award/Best Music Tony Morales, Craig Gerber Won
2019 Annie Awards Elena of Avalor Outstanding Achievement in Music

in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production

Tony Morales, Craig Gerber, Rachel Ruderman and Silvia Olivas Nominated
2015 ASCAP Film And Television Awards Sofia the First 2014 Top Television Series, Composer Won
2014 Primetime Emmy Awards "Merroway Cove",

"Sofia the First: The Floating Palace"

Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics Craig Gerber Nominated
2014 Daytime Emmy Awards "Sofia the First: Main Title Theme" Outstanding Original Song - Main Title and Promo Craig Gerber Won
2014 Daytime Emmy Awards "I Belong",

"Sofia the First: The Princess Test"

Outstanding Original Song Craig Gerber Nominated
2014 Annie Awards Sofia the First Outstanding Achievement in Music

in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production

Kevin Kliesch

and Craig Gerber

2014 ASCAP Film And Television Awards Sofia the First 2013 Top Television Series, Composer Won





  1. ^ "Disney - ABC Press". disneychannelmedianet.com.
  2. ^ "ASCAP Members Win Every Daytime Emmy Music Award". www.ascap.com.
  3. ^ "John Kavanaugh". IMDb.
  4. ^ "John Kavanaugh - Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic.
  5. ^ "John Kavanaugh | Credits". AllMusic.