Pianist Lura Johnson, a Steinway Artist, is one of the Mid-Atlantic’s most prominent and sought-after 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 extensively as the pianist of choice for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007. She has collaborated extensively in orchestral performances and recordings with Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Leila Josefowicz, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and has performed as soloist with the Baltimore and Delaware Symphonies.
Ms. Johnson is Artistic Director of Baltimore chamber music series Music in the Great Hall, a well-established Baltimore area series which presents both emerging and established artists. Devoted to chamber music from an early age, her many recital partners include Baltimore Symphony concertmaster Jonathan Carney, with whom she has presented the complete Brahms violin sonata cycle, clarinetist Anthony McGill, cellists Amit Peled and Kenneth Slowik, and flutist Marina Piccinini. She is a founding member of three duos, the Jennings-Johnson Duo with flutist Christina Jennings, Times Two with violinist Netanel Draiblate, and Duo Lalu, a cabaret duo with soprano Lara Bruckmann. She performs with VERGE Ensemble, a new music group 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. She has also performed with 21st Century Consort, PostClassical Ensemble, and the Towson New Music Ensemble.
Ms. Johnson’s discography includes a 2001 album, The Jennings-Johnson Duo, with flutist Christina Jennings, and 2010 Centaur Records release of Inner Voice, with BSO violist Peter Minkler, featuring sonatas by Rochberg and Shostakovich. This recording of Arvo Pärt’s spiegel im spiegel was featured in the official teaser trailer for the 2013 Warner Brothers film Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. 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. Johnson’s most recent release is Perspectives, a violin and piano recital with Netanel Draiblate on the Azica Records label. Her first solo CD, Turning, will be released in summer of 2014. Ms. Johnson has recorded for the Foxridge, Naxos, Innova, Centaur, Albany, and Azica labels.
Ms. Johnson’s current projects include a book on the unique challenges of orchestral piano playing, and a string of solo engagements nationwide to raise awareness and funds for the battle on global climate change.
Ms. Johnson is a committed teacher on the faculties of the Peabody Conservatory since 2001 and Georgetown University in Washington since 2013, where she teaches piano and directs the Chamber Music program.
When not onstage, Lura can be found on the dance floor. She is an avid social and competitive dancer specializing in West Coast Swing and Hustle.