Pianist Lura Johnson, a Steinway Artist, has established herself as one of the Mid Atlantic’s most prominent ensemble pianists. Hailed as “brilliant” by the Washington Post, Ms. Johnson is celebrated for her passionate and insightful interpretations of the standard repertoire, and esteemed by colleagues for her uncommon sensitivity and skill as a collaborative partner. Trained by luminaries Leon Fleisher and Robert McDonald, she is the Principal Pianist of the Delaware Symphony and has performed regularly with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Marin Alsop since 2007. She has collaborated extensively in orchestral performances and recordings with such artists as Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Leila Josefowicz, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Ms. Johnson has performed as soloist with the Baltimore Symphony and the Delaware Symphony, as well as with regional orchestras in Maryland, Ohio, Delaware, and Massachusetts.
Devoted to chamber music from an early age, Lura Johnson fields a steady stream of invitations to play in ensembles, most frequently with colleagues in the BSO, including concertmaster Jonathan Carney, with whom she has presented the complete Brahms violin sonata cycle. She has been a frequent guest artist at the Garth Newel Music Center in Warm Springs, Virginia. Recent recital partners include clarinetist Anthony McGill, cellist Amit Peled, and flutist Marina Piccinini, among others.
In 2009, Ms. Johnson was appointed Artistic Director of Baltimore chamber music series Music in the Great Hall, a well-established Baltimore area series with performances by both emerging and established artists.
Equally at home with contemporary music, she performs with VERGE Ensemble, who are in residence at Washington’s Corcoran Gallery and have rapidly established a commanding presence in the new music community both nationally and abroad.
Ms. Johnson’s discography includes a chamber music disc released in 2001 with award winning flutist Christina Jennings which won praise from critics. In November 2010 Centaur Records released her second chamber music disc, Inner Voice, a recital with BSO violist Peter Minkler featuring sonatas by George Rochberg and Dmitri Shostakovich. Ms. Johnson can also be heard on several recordings released by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, including Naxos’ Grammy nominated release of the Bernstein Mass, on which she played principal keyboard.
Ms. Johnson’s current projects include a book on the unique challenges of orchestral piano playing, and arranging solo engagements nationwide to raise awareness and funds for the battle on global climate change.
A committed teacher, she has served on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory since 2001 and has recently been appointed Adjunct Faculty, Assistant Professor of Music at Georgetown University in Washington, where she is now directing the Chamber Music Program.
When not onstage, Lura can usually be found on the dance floor. She is an avid and decorated social and competitive West Coast Swing and Hustle dancer.