Eastman School of Music Hosts Graham Johnson

The Internationally Known Vocal Accompanist Will Give Master Classes in Hatch Recital Hall

December 23, 2010

More Information:
For Media Only: Helene Snihur (585-274-1057, hsnihur@esm.rochester.edu)

Graham Johnson, one of world’s leading vocal accompanists, will be in-residence at the Eastman School of Music on Tuesday, Jan. 11, and Wednesday, Jan.12, 2011, for several events in the School’s new Hatch Recital Hall. The events include a lecture on accompaniment, and master classes in French and German art songs.

Johnson’s residency is sponsored by the Eastman School’s Voice and Opera Department and the Program in Piano Accompanying and Chamber Music, with support from the Friends of Eastman Opera.

In 1995, Johnson gave a master class at Eastman. “It’s rare to see experts in their own field – the voice department members at Eastman – spellbound, and rare to see the students grabbing for pen and paper to write down the words of wisdom surrounding them,” said Professor of Voice Carol Webber. “Such was the scene during Graham Johnson’s master classes presented here in 1995. His upcoming residence will again create that magic.”

Said Russell Miller, Associate Professor of Vocal Coaching and Repertoire, “Graham Johnson is unquestionably one of the world\’s leading authorities on song repertoires. I was privileged to both coordinate and observe his classes at the Music Academy of the West and use his exhaustive catalogue of annotated recordings and reference works weekly in my own teaching at Eastman. To have him here in person again is a dream fulfilled for both the Voice and Opera and the Accompanying departments.”

A pioneer in the piano vocal accompaniment world, Johnson’s career includes many successes as a performer, collaborator, author, and educator. Born in Rhodesia, he studied piano at the Royal Academy of Music. He later met composer/conductor Benjamin Britten, who greatly influenced Johnson in his accompaniment career. In search of creative new ways to explore the art song repertory, Johnson founded the Songmakers Almanac in 1976, an English ensemble that seeks out neglected piano/vocal works and builds recitals incorporating several singers. Johnson has planned and accompanied more than 150 Almanac recitals with such distinguished singers as Sir Thomas Allen, Victoria de los Angeles, Peter Schreier, Arleen Auguer, and Philip Langridge.

Johnson’s dedication to vocal accompaniment includes regular presentations at the summer recital cycle for the London South Bank and Wigmore Hall series. He has also recorded a 37-disc accompaniment of the complete Schubert Lieder, a milestone in the history of recording, as well as the complete Schumann series. Johnson was The Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 1998, elected Royal Swedish Academy of Music member in 2000, was awarded the Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the French Government, and was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in February 2010.

Johnson is professor of accompaniment at London’s Guildhall School of Music and is a fellow of Guildhall and of the Royal Academy of Music. He has given master classes in Finland, New Zealand, the United States, and other countries around the world.

During his residency at the Eastman School of Music, Johnson will give a lecture on the art of accompaniment at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11; at master class in French Mélodie at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 11; and a master class in German lied at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 12. All events take place in Hatch Recital Hall in the Eastman East Wing, 433 East Main St.

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