Pianist Lura Johnson is a Steinway Artist and the recent Second Prizewinner, as a member of Duo Baltinati with cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn, of the 2015 International Johannes Brahms Competition Chamber Music Division. She 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’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. Ms. Johnson's first solo CD, Turning, was released in the summer of 2014, and her CD Celebration Tour traveled across the country during the course of the '14-'15 season. Ms. Johnson has recorded for the Foxridge, Naxos, Innova, Centaur, Albany, and Azica labels.
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 Ilya Finkelshteyn, 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 has taught piano at the Peabody Conservatory since 2002, and in 2013 was named Director of Chamber Music at Georgetown University in Washington.
Formerly the Artistic Director of Baltimore chamber music series Music in the Great Hall, Ms. Johnson recently accepted a position as Pianist and General Manager with the PostClassical Ensemble in Washington, DC, an innovative and wildly ambitious chamber orchestra that is reinventing and reinvigorating the presentation of classical music with programming that is thematic and cross-discliplinary.
When not onstage, Ms. Johnson can be found on the dance floor. She is an avid social and competitive dancer with roots in gymnastics, ballet, and ballroom, specializing now in West Coast Swing.