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Biography
One of the most exciting solo artists of his generation, JOSEPH JOHNSON is currently the principal cellist of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and principal cellist-designate of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, a post he takes up at the start of the 2010-2011 season. He continues as principal cellist of the Santa Fe Opera, and, during the 2008-2009 season, served as guest principal cellist of the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

Highlights of Joseph Johnson’s current season include six performances of Brahms’s Double Concerto with violinist Frank Almond and Edo de Waart conducting the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, both locally and on tour. He performs as soloist in Dvorák’s Cello Concerto with Andreas Delfs and the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, while conducting master classes and participating in chamber music collaborations throughout the country. Mr. Johnson also frequently appears on the “Frankly Music” series, with MSO Concertmaster, Frank Almond.

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.

Joseph Johnson has been heard throughout the United States as a soloist, chamber musician and educator. His festival appearances include performances in all classical genres at the American festivals of Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Bard, Cactus Pear, Caramoor, Grand Teton, Music in the Vineyards and, in Sapporo, Japan, the Pacific Music Festival. Mr. Johnson has a special relationship with the culture and people of Russia, dating to his 1997 tour as soloist with the American Russian Youth Orchestra, during which he played Barber’s Cello Concerto in New York City’s Carnegie Hall, St. Petersburg’s Marinsky Theatre and Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall. He returned to Russia frequently, leading master classes at the Tchaikovsky School of Music and performing in recital.

Joseph Johnson recently completed a special recording project with the G. Schirmer Instrumental 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 contents, and is available from major music retailers nationwide.

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. A gifted and inspiring teacher, he has conducted master classes at The New World Symphony, The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern University and the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Johnson performs on a magnificent Juan Guillami cello, crafted 1747 in Barcelona.

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