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Work Samples

W.A. Mozart - Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330: Allegro moderato

Studio Recording: W.A. Mozart - Piano Sonata in C Major, K. 330: Allegro moderato

Felix Mendelssohn - Violin Sonata in F Major (1838): I. Allegro Vivace.mp3

An excerpt from the first movement of Mendelssohn F Major Violin Sonata, performed with Netanel Draiblate, violin, from the duo's commercially released recording Perspectives. Full movement is listed under the project title Times Two Duo with violinist Netanel Draiblate.

Johannes Brahms - Klavierstücke, Op. 118: 5. Romanze

From commercially released solo recording, Turning

Lura Johnson, piano - Music from the Video Game Symphony

From a live concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.


About Lura

Baltimore City

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... more

A Unique Vision: Connecting Through Music

I have long been fascinated with connection as an intellectual concept. As an undergraduate music student at Rice University, I took a class in Romanticism, which surveyed the movement as it manifested across the fields of visual art, music, literature, and philosophy. I was particularly captivated by the writing of Immanuel Kant in his Critique of Judgment, in which he described the definition of beauty as the interplay between observer and object considered beautiful. This interplay, this connection, has become what I seek in every area of life. Connection leads to engagement and to inspiration. Connection leads to a sense of togetherness, of community. As a performer, connecting and communicating are my aspiration.

In this fractious and divisive cultural moment, my ability to connect through music serves me and others even more profoundly.

I present in this portfolio a number of projects that exemplify not only my level of mastery in the field of classical music performance, and not just the depth of my artistic exploration in that field, but also the unique vision of music as a bridge between artist and instrument, artist and composer, members of a performing ensemble, performers and audience; and not least, between performer and self.

Macrocosm of the Symphony Orchestra: Collaboration with the BSO

It is uncommon to find a pianist who can grasp and master the particular challenges of orchestral piano playing. Stellar soloists and even accomplished chamber musicians often have difficulty with the very unique ensemble skills that are required. Many pianists are unused to following a conductor's beat patterns, particularly when they can change so drastically from one music director to the next. Another challenge is the difference in sound production between the piano and the other instruments in the orchestra - the piano produces immediate and instantaneous sound, while wind and string instruments have more cushion and delay to the beginning of their sound, as the breath or the bow connect with the air column or string. These differences in sound production result in necessary adjustments on the part of the orchestral pianist, so as to play in perfect synchronicity with the ensemble. Another issue is distance: since light travels faster than sound, and the piano is normally placed physically in the back of the orchestra, playing directly with the beat one sees can cause a pianist to sound ahead of the other instruments. All of these issues combine to create a musical puzzle that is always different and always has a different solution.

Furthermore, pianists do not train for these challenges. Since any given orchestra generally has need for only one pianist, most don’t even consider orchestral playing in the constellation of activities they might pursue as a professional musician. I was fortunate to discover, about ten years ago, that I have a particular knack for this kind of adaptive, flexible, connective playing. Marin Alsop's first day on the job at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra was my first as well. The challenge has been remarkably rewarding.


Ms. Johnson has been the regular guest pianist for the Baltimore Symphony since September 2007, when she played her first concert with the symphony under the baton of Maestra Marin Alsop. She has collaborated extensively in orchestral performances with Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, Midori, Leila Josefowicz, Joshua Bell, and Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Pinchas Zukerman, the St. Lawrence String Quartet and has performed with the orchestra on 5 commercial recordings released by the symphony:

1. Leonard Bernstein's Mass, which was nominated for a Grammy award. Ms. Johnson played principal keyboard and organ on this recording. Released 2009, Naxos label.

2. Mark O'Connor's Americana Symphony. Released 2008 on O'Connor's private label.

3. Jean-Yves Thibaudet plays Gershwin Concertos with the Baltimore Symphony. Ms. Johnson played orchestra piano in the Concerto in F. Released April 2010, Decca label.

4. Bartok, Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta. Released 2012, Naxos label.

5. Bernstein Symphonies #1 and 2. Ms. Johnson played piano on Symphony No. 1. Released 2016, Naxos label.

Connection of Music and Narrative: Music for Film

Ms. Johnson's playing has been featured in the official teaser trailers for two major motion pictures:

1. Official teaser trailer, Gravity (2013), directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Music selection: Arvo Pärt's spiegel im spiegel, taken from commercially released recording, Inner Voice, with Lura Johnson, piano and Peter Minkler, viola.

2. Ice Age: Collision Course Official Trailer #2 (2016) - Ray Romano, John Leguizamo Animated Movie HD. Music selection: Arvo Pärt's spiegel im spiegel, taken from commercially released recording, Inner Voice, with Lura Johnson, piano and Peter Minkler, viola.

Connection to Place: Inspiration of Homeland

"Who is your favorite composer?" This is the question I am asked by audience members more than any other. For decades, my answer was that I couldn't possibly choose. And then came an extraordinary six-month period during which I was invited, by pure coincidence, to play the Piano Quintet by Johannes Brahms, a Brahms Trio, one of his quartets, a viola sonata, two of the violin sonatas, and one of the cello sonatas. At the end of this experience of compressed immersion in the chamber music of Brahms, I realized that I finally knew the answer to that popular question. Brahms biographer Jan Swafford writes of his subject's music that it contains "the counterpoint of Bach, the architecture of Beethoven, the gentle lyricism of Schubert, and the fantasy of Schumann;" and yet the music does not sound like those composers mixed together in some sort of musical blender: rather, it sounds singularly Brahmsian.

Nine years later, I discovered that there existed a competition for the thing I love most in life, the chamber music of Brahms. The contest is held in Pörtschach am Wörthersee, a tiny berg nestled amidst the Austrian Alps, where Brahms spent the summers of 1887-1889. There he wrote some of that very music that has grown so important to me. I immediately contacted one of the chamber music partners with whom I have the strongest sense of musical connection: cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn had been the principal cellist of the Baltimore Symphony from 2002-2009, during which time we had played together extensively and with great joy. Ilya agreed that going to Austria to compete in the International Johannes Brahms Competition's Chamber Music divison was something that we should do. We applied, were accepted, and began working in earnest on our program, which included both Cello Sonatas by Brahms, in addition to works by Schumann, Bolcom, Beethoven, Debussy, and Piazzolla.

We arrived in Pörtschach on September 4, 2015. From then until we departed on September 14 we were completely immersed in the music of Brahms. We spent every day focused on musical ideas concerning phrasing, color, articulation, and structure, diverted only momentarily by needs for food, drink, and sleep. We won the Second Prize, and the experience was life changing for me, in that I now seek that experience of depth and concentrated engagement whenever possible. I have now returned to the Brahms competition two more times: in September of 2016 and 2017 I was official pianist for the competition, playing chamber music in the semi-final round of the cello division; and recently I expressed an interest in an expanded role within the organization, one which has yet to be defined. My travel to Austria has, to my joy, become annual and this past September of 2017 included two solo piano recitals, one in Vienna and one in Salzburg, where I performed all-Mozart programs in cathedrals that dated from the 900's A.D.

I am surprised by how much my connection to the classical music of Austria has been augmented by spending time in there. I have always loved the music of Austrian composers Mozart, Brahms, Schubert, Bruckner, Haydn, Mahler, and many others. But to see the natural beauty they saw, to walk through the homes where they lived, and to breathe the air they breathed has changed my relationship to the music in a vivid way.


Cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn and pianist Lura Johnson have maintained an active chamber music partnership since 2004. In September 2015, as Duo Baltinati, they traveled to Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Austria, to compete in the 22nd annual International Johannes Brahms Competition, where they were awarded the Second Prize in the chamber music division. The duo was one of 32 ensembles and 77 artists. Their program included Schumann Fantasiestücke, Bolcom Capriccio, both Brahms Cello Sonatas, Beethoven C Major Cello Sonata, Debussy Cello Sonata, and Piazzolla’s Le Grand Tango. The following recordings were taken from a live performance the duo gave in Baltimore in January, 2006.

Ultimate Connection Through Musical Conversation: Chamber Music

I learned at the age of 15, in a barn in the Berkshires of New England, what chamber music is. It is spontaneous communication, openness, vulnerability. The moments when I am fully engaged with chamber music partners who are also listening intently, ready to respond, and ready to support at any moment have been the most fulfilling of my life. For me, chamber music is one of the most powerful ways to experience human connection.


Ms. Johnson has had an affinity for chamber music from a young age. The partnerships she finds most fulfilling are those which generate an atmosphere of discipline during the rehearsal process and spontaneous creation and innovation in performance. Her penchant for communication with her instrument, the composer, her fellow musicians, and her audience has found fulfillment in her duo with violinist Netanel Draiblate. Times Two Duo concertizes regularly together and released a recording, Perspectives, in 2013.

Connection to Past: Between Two Worlds

One of my first significant chamber music collaborations, and my first commercially released recording, arose from a relationship that began when I was 15 years old. As a teenager growing up in northeastern Ohio, I learned in the late 1980's from my piano teacher about a chamber music camp called Greenwood, nestled in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. This place sounded no less than heaven on earth - a small group of musically precocious and highly motivated young people, a place of breathtaking natural beauty, an impressive and committed music faculty, and a rustic barn in which we played all of our concerts, barefoot. These elements combined in an explosive and powerful way in the summer of 1990 and opened up to me a new world in which I knew that music-making and its power to communicate and create connection were to be a motivating force in my life, and that I wanted to pursue a career as a musician. That summer the older sister of one of my fellow campers attended a concert at Greenwood. She wrote me a note later, remarking on the beauty of my playing and how she could "listen to me play that Raindrop Prelude of Chopin for hours." Later I grew very close to her younger sister and spent time at their house in Hudson, Ohio. And even later, we found ourselves attending the same Shepherd School of Music at Rice University for our graduate degrees in music performance. This was Christina Jennings, by that time an award-winning flutist, and in 1998 we finally began playing together.

The partnership began with a recording made in 2005 and released in 2006, which we titled The Jennings-Johnson Duo. The Duo spent 2003-2009 traveling on multiple tours, playing recitals all across America, from Boston to Iowa, New York to Alabama. Almost ten years later, we recorded George Rochberg's work "Between Two Worlds" on an album dedicated to the complete flute works of George Rochberg. The duo was active, productive, and seminal in the lives of both members, and it had its roots in our childhood.


“Composers pray for players that are this imaginative and intelligent, this risk-taking and expressive. Christina Jennings and Lura Johnson 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

Founded in 2002, the Jennings-Johnson Duo is a musical partnership celebrating the true spirit of collaboration. Inspired to explore all the combinations of the duo repertoire, they are challenging the traditional hierarchy of soloist and accompanist with performances that include solo works for each individual instrument, transcriptions, and music of today. Each a virtuoso in her own right, their combined synergy attracts new audiences to the flute and piano medium.

They have released two recordings: The Jennings-Johnson Duo in 2006 and The Complete Flute Music of George Rochberg, Vol. 1 in 2015.

Connection to Present: Music by Living Composers

Classical music hallows its past. We cherish our heritage, revere the great composers who founded and fostered our tradition, and consequently create the impression that we function as a museum that presents only old works by composers who have been gone from us for hundreds of years. In fact, classical music is alive and teeming with exciting music that represents our time. This music of now has diverged quite far, in many cases, from the style of the old beloved masters, and for some performers it lies outside their comfort zone. Since my early teens when I was first exposed to freshly composed works, I have been attracted to and comfortable in this medium. Rather than connecting with a text, the performance of new music offers a performer the opportunity to connect directly with its author, to receive suggestions and feedback straight from the horse's mouth, to learn the composer's intentions from the source. How many times do musicians long for the opportunity to ask Beethoven a question about tempo, or Bach a question about articulation? In the world of new music, all such questions can be answered.

My work as a performer of new music connects me not just to individual composers but to the musical and artistic landscape of my society as an integral and vibrant member of its arts community.


Ms. Johnson has performed, commissioned, and recorded new music for the 17 years, as a member of the Towson New Music Ensemble, in residence at Towson University, and Verge Ensemble, the oldest running contemporary music group in Washington D.C. She has collaborated on five recordings featuring contemporary classical music compositions:

1. Complete Flute Music of George Rochberg, released in March 2015 on American Classics (Ms. Johnson performed Rochberg's Between Two Worlds, for flute and piano with Christina Jennings, flute)

2. Music of Jeffrey Mumford, released in January 2014 on Albany Records (Ms. Johnson commissioned and performed Mumford's evolving romance for flute and piano with Christina Jennings, flute)

3. New Paths: Music of composer Lawrence Moss, released in November 2011 on Innova Recordings (Ms. Johnson performed the song cycle From the Chinese with soprano Kathryn Hearden)

4. Mark O'Connor's American Symphony, self-released in 2008 by Mark O'Connor (Ms. Johnson performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestra Marin Alsop)

5. Night Music by Karen Amrhein, self-released in 2008 by Karen Amrhein (Ms. Johnson performed Amrhein's solo set Dance Card)

Connection to Self: A Solo Album

Because I am so strongly collaborative by nature, it has been more of a challenge to find my voice as a soloist. In 2010 I started toying with the idea of recording a solo album. It had to be music I played exceptionally well, pieces I had played for a long time, and ones about which I felt strongly that my interpretation deserved a wider audience than a live concert would provide. The project started as a conversation with a dear friend, "If you were to record a solo album, what would you play?" After some hesitation, I began listing pieces that felt right for all of the aforementioned reasons, and I shortly discovered, to my astonishment, that there was also a strong thematic connection between the works: they were all variation sets. This was the seed that blossomed, in 2014, into the release of Turning, my first solo album. I needed a strong connection to self to step beyond my strengths as a collaborator to produce a project that was all mine. The project came together with a serendipity and synchronicity that made it feel like meant to be.


Turning is a collection of variation sets. This recording includes three works representing the genre of theme and variations in the traditional sense: Mozart’s Twelve Variations on “Ah, vous dirai-je Maman,” K. 265; Clara Schumann’s Variations on a Theme by Robert Schumann, Op. 20; and Derek Bermel’s masterpiece, Turning, written in 1995. The inclusion of the other two works casts a wider net on the concept of theme and variations: the Rachmaninoff work is a transcription of a solo violin piece, and Brahms’s set of piano pieces was composed using a technique called developing variation. As a collection, these five works represent the concept of variation from many different angles.

Recorded May 23-25, 2012 at Morgan State University’s Gilliam Concert Hall, Baltimore, Maryland.
Produced and engineered by Antonino d’Urzo, Opusrite Audio Productions.
Piano: Steinway, Model B, built 1916.
Piano Technician: Tom Wright, Wright Piano Services.
Cover Photo: Katya Chilingiri.
Booklet Design: Alexa Brooks.

Connection of Two Composers, Two Centuries Apart: A Bold Project for 2018

The Art of Prelude and Fugue

In 1722, celebrated Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a set of contrapuntal exercises called Preludes and Fugues, one in each major and minor key of the twelve-step chromatic scale. This systematic series of intellectual and technical keyboard exercises was intended "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study.” Some 20 years later Bach composed a second book of the same kind, which became known as The Well-Tempered Clavier, Part Two. Together the books represent some of the most important pieces of music literature in the Western musical tradition.

Two centuries later, Russian composer Dmitry Shostakovich traveled to Germany to judge a piano competition. There he heard Tatiana Nikolayeva perform the set of 48 prelude and fugues by Bach in their entirety. Her playing captivated Shostakovich. She won the first prize and shortly upon his return to Saint Petersburg, Shostakovich embarked on the writing of his own set of preludes and fugues, inspired by the great Baroque master.

Many pianists have performed and/or recorded the complete Well-Tempered Clavier of Bach. There are also a handful of pianists who have performed and/or recorded the entire opus of Shostakovich’s preludes and fugues. There are even a few pianists who have built concerts using excerpts from both works. But to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a pianist who performed the entire set of both. In the 2018–19 season, I will be the first to perform this monumental series of pieces live, in a cycle of four concerts each of which will be preceded by lectures and presentations.

I have always felt close to Bach. When I was growing up, at the encouragement of my teachers Julian Martin (1986-1987) and later Jeanne Kierman Fischer (1988-1992), I played a recital each year, starting at age 13, and I always began my programs with Bach. I began my very first full-length public concert with Bach’s Keyboard Concerto in F Minor. In later years, I started programs with a French Suite, or a Partita, sometimes a Prelude and Fugue. It centered me to begin my two hours on stage with some of the purest, most spiritual music in the keyboard repertoire.

One of the most remarkable aspects of J.S. Bach’s keyboard music is that it is bereft of extramusical indications. In his keyboard music we see no tempo markings; no dynamics, no articulations, no indications of whether notes should be staccato, portato, legato, connected, detached. We are given no indications of crescendo or diminuendo, whether a phrase or a sequence should be rising or falling in volume and energy level. Bach’s music is a clean slate. It is mathematical and perfect in its construction and achieves a sublime state that transcends the need for extraneous detail. This is why performances of Bach are so personal, so different from one artist to the next. Musicians are given so much latitude to make their own decisions that interpretations vary immensely. Bach’s music survives this and emerges from any interpretation unassaulted and unblemished – because the nature of his compositional style is so scientific, so precise, regimented, controlled – and through those qualities so celestial, so metaphysical – that its power transcends the interpretation of any one performer. The message is potent. It will not and cannot be lost.

The music of Bach is the purest, most adaptable (it can be played on any keyboard instrument with equal success), most rigorously intellectual and yet flexible writing of any I can think of. As a matter of fact, it can only be rivaled in these aspects by the work of one other composer - Shostakovich.

He, too, leaves much to the performer. His music, like Bach’s, finds a potency through complexity masked as simplicity. Both of these composers rely almost entirely on counterpoint to carry the weight of their message.

Presenting these two composers on the same series of programs is both shockingly unorthodox and the most natural partnership one could imagine.

Documentary filmmaker Scott Meyers is in the process of producing a video portrait dedicated to my work as an artist and to this project in particular. A trailer for his short film can be viewed in this section.

I will be launching a social media campaign designed to share with the public the nature of my project, to let that public in on the process of learning and practicing so much music, and to celebrate a more informal and personal medium for sharing my performances than is typical for my industry - rather than waiting until the project feels completed, I want to connect with my audience and share with them my process, my discoveries, and my insights along the way. To these ends I will be releasing an informal video of one Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach each day beginning January 1, 2018.

  • TRAILER: Lura Johnson - The Art of Prelude and Fugue

    Produced and created by videographers Scott Meyers and Ali Walton. Audio engineering by Bob Novak. Studio space provided by Red Bridge Studios. Creative direction by David Williams. In preparation for the project The Art of Prelude and Fugue, a four-concert cycle of concerts presenting the entire Well-Tempered Clavier of J.S. Bach, with the complete Preludes and Fugues of Dmitry Shostakovich curated by the artist and interstitially placed throughout. Repertoire performed in this video: J.S. Bach Prelude in C Major, from Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I J.S.
  • How to REALLY learn a fugue

    Lura Johnson, piano Home studio recording. December 2017 In preparation for the project The Art of Prelude and Fugue, a four concert cycle of concerts presenting the entire Well-Tempered Clavier of J.S. Bach, with the complete Preludes and Fugues of Dmitry Shostakovich interstitially placed throughout.

Mastery of Craft: Reviews and Testamonials

Demonstrating Mastery of Craft:

One way to evaluate the degree to which a person has attained mastery of their craft is through feedback from independent third parties. I include here articles and quotes from various newspapers, magazines, and online sources. Additionally, I provide testimonials from performers, composers, and former teachers.


“[Delaware Symphony Orchestra] 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.” (Christine Facciolo, Delaware Arts Info)

“Johnson’s piano work was spot-on, with a lovely cadenza and flawless timing… a jaw-dropping flurry of flying fingers…” (Steve Siegel, The Morning Call)

“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’s riveting account of Prokofiev’s “Sonata No. 7, Op. 83,” though, really stole the show. It’s a complex, subversive work, written in 1942 after the arrest and subsequent death of a friend of the composer’s, and Johnson looked unflinchingly into its anguished depths… Johnson and Andrist gave it [Rite of Spring] a thundering performance, capturing the Rite’s jagged rhythms and driving, elemental power, and by the end you half expected the piano to be in pieces on the floor.” (Stephen Brookes, The Washington Post) (entire article here)

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

“spirited … charming” (The New York Sun)

“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.” (The 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)

“a very lovely reading… Draiblate and Johnson give an engaging reading of Elgar’s “Salut d’amour”, where they seem to test the limits of rubato. They manage to ebb, flow, pull, and push to the furthest extreme without disturbing or distorting the line or exceeding the boundaries of good taste. They apply the same kind of freedom to the Grieg F Major Sonata, which makes it a very exciting and engaging reading… They have me eating out of their hands….” (Elaine Fine, American Record Guide April/May 2014)

At the piano Lura Johnson wove a meditative veil with Pärt’s quotation of Bach’s Prelude in C Major (from Book I of The Well-Tempered Clavier)” (Charles T. Downey, Washington Classical Review)

“…the exceptional pianist Lura Johnson…” (Jennifer Perry,

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

“…liquid, flowing keyboard work…” (Tom Purdom, Broad Street Review, Philadelphia)

Remarks from Tim Smith, writing for The Baltimore Sun and for his online arts blog, Artsmash:
“crystalline articulation in the Scherzo…. surging expressive force…” (entire review here)

“Johnson summoned impressive bravura as needed — Chausson demands a lot of it — and balanced that with considerable nuance."

“Several finely shaded efforts by soloists within the ensemble enhanced the performance, among them Jane Marvine (English horn), Steven Barta (clarinet), Rene Hernandez (trumpet) and Lura Johnson (piano).”

"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….”

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

“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.”

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

“The percussion section did shining work, as did Lura Johnson at the piano…”

“polished, dynamic…”


“impressive warmth and cohesiveness…”

“Johnson’s performance had exceptional vitality, color and impact.”

Remarks from The Washington Post:

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

“virtuosic… hugely entertaining…”


“At every turn… super-polished, fluent…”

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

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

“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.” (The Flutist Quarterly, Spring 2007 issue)


“a wonderfully gifted young pianist, inquisitive, enterprising, responsive and aware….”
(Leon Fleisher, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Chair in Piano, Peabody Institute of Music)

“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)

"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.

“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)

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Lura's Curated Collection

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