Reviews

Photography by Katya Chilingiri

Photography by Katya Chilingiri

“…the exceptional pianist Lura Johnson…” (Jennifer Perry, broadwayworld.com)

“… the orchestra soloists were top notch, particularly Lura Johnson’s piano solos on ‘The Entertainer’…” (Elliot Lanes, MDtheatreguide.com)

“DSO principal pianist Lura Johnson rendered the first movement with an air of confidence and ease — her cadenza powerful yet insightful and moving… her virtuosity sizzles.”  READ MORE
Christine Facciolo, Delaware Arts Info

“an unusally well-structured performance that goes beyond superficial tonal beauties to reveal the score’s constitutive elements…  [George Rochberg's] sonata’s slow movement plumbs great emotional depths that are uncompromisingly conveyed by both musicians. Shostakovich’s Sonata… receives a restrained performance that lets the music speak its nihilistic message without rubbing it in with superimposed emotional antics. Minkler and pianist Lura Johnson make a marvellous team…”
Carlos Maria Solare, The Strad

“Johnson summoned impressive bravura as needed — Chausson demands a lot of it — and balanced that with considerable nuance. The six musicians maintained tight rapport as they tapped into the Concert’s Brahmsian heat and French elegance. In the Grave movement, they also achieved a remarkable richness of expression that cast quite a spell….”
Tim Smith, Baltimore Sun

“virtuosic… hugely entertaining…” (Washington Post)
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“Brilliant…” (Washington Post)

“At every turn… super-polished, fluent…” (Washington Post)

“spirited … charming” (New York Sun)

“rich, deep tone and impeccable technique… dazzling…” (Chaffee, American Record Guide January/February 2007

“the exceptional pianist Lura Johnson…” (BroadwayWorld.com)

“…particularly commanding and imaginative support from the piano…” (MusicWeb International)

“Johnson flowed effortlessly and eloquently through Ives’s myriad unfolding moods and ideas with confidence and thoughtfulness, not losing their literary statement.” (Washington Post)

“Pianist Lura Johnson skillfully and enthusiastically brought out its playful and extroverted character… poignant…” (Washington Post)

“The percussion section did shining work, as did Lura Johnson at the piano…” (Baltimore Sun) Click here to read the review in full.

“polished, dynamic…” (Baltimore Sun)

“first-rate…” (Baltimore Sun)

“impressive warmth and cohesiveness…” (Baltimore Sun)

“Johnson’s performance had exceptional vitality, color and impact.” (Baltimore Sun)

“Their passionate account of Brahms’ Piano Quintet featuring pianist Lura Johnson had an effective sweep, full of character and a rich, well-blended sound.” (Baltimore Sun)

“Wednesday’s strong mix of repertoire, selected by pianist Lura Johnson, balanced the quirky, often just plain astonishing Ives trio between great works by Beethoven and Dvorak… You just have to smile, and I did as Johnson, violinist Ken Goldstein and cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn dug spiritedly into the notes. The riveting finale, with its Brahmsian lyricism and haunting references to “Rock of Ages,” was played in particularly powerful fashion.” (Baltimore Sun)

“BSO violinist Greg Mulligan and pianist Lura Johnson delivered Grieg’s C minor Sonata in warm, poetic fashion.” (Baltimore Sun)

“The Verge Ensemble, a power hitter on Washington’s modest contemporary music scene, is coming off a 35th-anniversary season that saw involvement in the new 3gen Festival in Washington, several performances in New York and a stint at the legendary new-music festival June in Buffalo: in short, the continuing development of a national presence.” (Washington Post)

“Lura Johnson — the beautiful, model-thin guest pianist — played the Grieg Concerto in A minor, opus 16 with great flourish and technical prowess – hands flying in the air dramatically at the end of phrases and grabbing the piano with her left hand when she played with the right. The pyrotechnics, melodic control and technical prowess which won her the audition for the Delaware Symphony Orchestra were evident in her rendition of the cadenza in the first movement. In the second movement, she played softly and lyrically, trading off the melody with the oboe. The third movement was the most impressive in expression and melodic control. Her ability to bring out the melody over a soft slew of notes in the left hand in the third movement won me over.” Click here to read the review in full. (Newark Post)

“…The duo’s dedication to this 1982 work [Rochberg, Between Two Worlds] proved true and palpable as they negotiated deftly through its atmospheric sonorities and thorny dissonances… ” “…It was Johnson’s dynamic and confident playing that drove this piece [Franck A Major Sonata]. The pianist’s expressive touch, evident all evening, swelled to an expansive high in the finale.” (The Birmingham News)

“Jennings and Johnson are truly a “duo”, a shared partnership of equal voices that are matched in musical understanding and approach to interpretation. Even when the flute is more prominently featured in the melodic line, the sensitive underpinning and comment by the piano accompaniment is sure and supportive. The inherent challenge of ensuring the listener does not miss the color of the original orchestral accompaniment is well met by Johnson.” -Flutist Quarterly, Spring 2007 issue

“”Lura Johnson is the ideal pianist for new music, with a wonderful technique and exceptional insight into the character of the new music she is performing.   She instinctively performs it as the composer intended, so that   I was more than satisfied – I was thrilled -  by the way she performed some new songs of mine with soprano Kate Hearden.  I look forward to working with Lura in the future”.  (Lawrence Moss, composer and professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

“Her artistic capabilities are impressive and to splendid effect; furthermore she proves to be an excellent spokesperson who manages through her words to heighten the audience’s understanding of the works in a most effective way.” (Robert McDonald, The Juilliard School)

“Composers pray for players that are this imaginative and intelligent, this risk-taking and expressive. Christina [Jennings] and Lura not only bring already composed works of mine to renewed life, but actually feed my fancy new ideas and sounds. Add to this the duo’s power and virtuosity and you have every composer’s dream.” (Gabriela Lena Frank, composer)

“The Jennings-Johnson Duo CD is a spectacular display of extraordinary musical poise and technical brilliance. The artistry of these two musicians is most compelling and gratifying in this beautifully programmed CD.” (Jeanne Baxtresser, Former Principal Flute, New York Philharmonic)

“The Jennings-Johnson Duo is a magical partnership. Christina’s wizardry as a colorist is matched by Lura’s sensitivity to nuance and phrasing. This is a powerful, enchanting CD.” (Leone Buyse, Professor of Flute, Rice University)

“There are many pianists who can play a lot of notes, but very few who can collaborate with others like Lura Johnson. She has a unique ability to inspire and inform those with whom she works, making the group stronger than its individual parts. Musically speaking, she can both support and take charge, as necessary.” (Greg Mulligan, violinist, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra)

“A person of inestimable gifts with fine ears, truly innate musicianship and extraordinary presence on stage that are really world-class.” (Jeanne Kierman, The Fischer Duo)

“Most striking, however, is her aspiration to depth of musical understanding, her search for insight and meaning in our traditional repertoire.” (Brian Connelly, Artist Teacher of Piano, Rice University)

Published on September 2, 2007 at 3:37 am  Leave a Comment  

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