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Joseph Johnson, cello


JohnsonJoseph Johnson has been heard throughout the world as a soloist, chamber musician, and educator. His festival appearances include performances in all classical genres at the American festivals of Santa Fe, Bach Dancing and Dynamite society, Bard, Cactus Pear, Grand Teton, and Music in the Vineyards, as well as the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo and the Virtuosi Festival in Brazil.

Highlights of Joseph Johnson’s 2013/2014 fall/winter season included three performances of the Brahms Double Concerto with the Okanagan Symphony, two performances of the Saint-Saëns concerto with the Slovenia Philharmonic, and Don Quixote in Chicago with the Northwestern University Symphony. He returned to Milwaukee to perform on the Frankly Music series in January, as well as making his Toronto debut recital. Mr. Johnson recently celebrated the release of his new album with pianist Victor Santiago Asuncion, featuring the Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich sonatas. He also completed a special recording project with the G. Schirmer Library, The Cello Collection. Published in three volumes by Hal Leonard and featuring companion recordings by Mr. Johnson, this project presents cello literature appropriate for recitals and contests.

Bio continues below


Be sure to hear Joseph Johnson’s 2014 Festival performances listed below

Thursday, July 31, noon
All Brahms

Thursday, August 14, noon
Mozart Piano Quartet

Saturday, August 16, 5:00PM
Brandenburg Concertos 3, 4 & 5

Monday, August 18, 6:00PM
Cooking with Martinu & Schubert

Saturday, August 23, 6:00PM
Brandenburg Concertos 1, 2 & 6


In March 2012 Joseph performed the North American premiere of the Cello Concerto Grosso by Peter Oetvös with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a co-commission with the Berlin Philharmonic. He recently completed a six-city U.S. tour with Victor Santiago Asuncion, performed the Barber Cello Concerto with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, and performed multiple concerts in the summer of 2013 at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.

Principal cellist of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since the 2009/2010 season, Mr. Johnson previously held the same position with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He also serves as principal cellist of The Santa Fe Opera and, during the 2008/2009 season, was acting principal cellist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his Milwaukee appointment, Joseph Johnson was a member of the Minnesota Orchestra cello section for eleven years, during which time he performed numerous chamber music works during the Orchestra’s Sommerfest, both as cellist and pianist. He was a founding member of both the Prospect Park Players and the Minneapolis Quartet, the latter of which was honored with The McKnight Foundation Award in 2005.

A gifted and inspiring teacher, Mr. Johnson has conducted master classes repeatedly at the New World Symphony, Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern University, and the youth orchestras of the Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, and Toronto symphonies, as well as the Glenn Gould School of The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Joseph Johnson earned his master’s degree from Northwestern University. Awards and honors include a performer’s certificate from the Eastman School of Music and First Prize from the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.

Artist Website