Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson

Violinist Karen Johnson began her musical studies in her hometown of Gilbert, Arizona, at the age of 4. At age 10, she became the pupil of Dr. William Magers at Arizona State University and under his tutelage won such competitions as the Corpus Christi International Young artist Competition, the Midland-Odessa National Young Artist Competition, and the Music Teachers National Association Yamaha String Competition.

In 1996, Ms. Johnson began her studies at the Juilliard School as the pupil of Joel Smirnoff and while attending school was the winner of the Juilliard Sibelius Violin Concerto Competition, the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Jefferson Symphony Competitions, as well as the Music Academy of the West Festival Competition.

While completing her Bachelor's degree, Ms. Johnson was first violinist of the Vaux String Quartet which performed throughout the Eastern United States, including performances at New York's Alice Tully Hall. She also served as Concertmaster of the Juilliard orchestras, performing the solo violin parts of Richard Strauss's Le Bourgeois Gentilhome, Symphonia domestica, and Ein Heldenleben, all at New York's Lincoln Center.

Ms. Johnson completed her Masters degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2002, studying with William Preucil, Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra and former first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet.

Ms. Johnson has performed in concerts throughout the United States and Europe and has worked with a variety of renowned conductors and musicians, such as James DePriest, Sergiu Commissiona, Keith Lockhart, Yuri Temerkanov, Jamie Laredo, and Joseph Silverstein.

Since 2002, Ms. Johnson has served as the Concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony. She is married to Karl Johnson, bass trombonist in the "President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, and is the proud mom of Julia.

As a soloist and chamber and orchestral musician, Ms. Johnson's playing has been applauded for by the following reviews.

“Intimacy and warmth of tone”
Santa Barbara Independent

“Johnson made the Vaughan WIlliams sound like a masterpiece when she played it in rdcital and her recording (BR147) has comparable sweep and portent”
"Bridge's impressionistic miniatures nicley reduce the scale and relax the tension between the bing sonatas. Johnson emphasizes their color and atmospherics."
"Kong is a fine pianist, but more importantly for these purposes she is a supremely gifed accompanist, a stylish and reliable partner enchancing music in which the violin is the dominant voice (BR147)."
Clarke Bustard, Music Editor
Richmond Tines- Dispatch


“Sparkling and courageous”
Mesa Tribune

“A superior musician who also conveys charm and approachability”
Richmond Style Weekly

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