EMMA JOHNSON is one of very few clarinettists to have established a busy international career which has taken her to major European, American and Asian venues as well as to Africa and Australasia.
Her recording of sonatas by Brahms and Mendelssohn with John Lenehan was described as "definitive . . . triumphant . . .a landmark disc" in The Observer (April 2012) and follows on from her Classical chart-topping successes: Voyage and The Mozart Album on the Universal label. She has an extensive discography on the A.S.V, Naxos and Nimbus labels, including a much admired recording of the Finzi Concerto, nominated for a Gramophone Award and Pastoral, chosen as CD of the Year by BBC Music Magazine.
Emma Johnson's repertoire includes all the major clarinet concertos, including works written especially for her by John Dankworth, Will Todd, Michael Berkeley and Stephen Barlow and has led to engagements with many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philharmonia, , Halle, English Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Salzburg Camerata and Netherlands Philharmonic.
Emma Johnson is in great demand as a collaborative artist. She continues her long-standing partnership with John Lenehan, while tours in recent years have included performances with the Takacs and Con Tempo quartets, the pianists Pascal Rogé and John Lill, the cellist Julian Lloyd-Webber and sopranos Lesley Garrett and Elizabeth Watts. She is also director of Emma Johnson and Friends, a versatile wind and string group and has curated concert series for the Leeds International Concert Season and for Castle Hotel Concerts.
Renowned for her lyrical freshness and spontaneous expressivity, Emma Johnson has also revealed an idiomatic feeling for jazz and blues in recent years. A new collaboration with the composer Jonathan Dove has led her to giving workshops and performances with large groups of 7 – 11 year olds recreating the story of The Pied Piper. She has been appointed Visiting Professor at the Leeds College of Music.
Emma Johnson is an experienced broadcaster, her TV appearances ranging from a recital for Sky Arts, prime-time chat shows and gala concerts. She featured in the Channel 4 documentary about the late Sir John Dankworth and played the popular hit theme tune for The Victorian Kitchen Garden (winning a Novello Award) for the BBC, while her radio work includes Artist of the Week for both Radio 3 and Classic FM and features on Gerald Finzi and John Milton for Radio 4, chosen as Pick of the Week.
Emma grew up in London and studied clarinet from the age of nine. In 1984 she won BBC Young Musician of the Year and was later to be a winner of the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York. These successes launched her career whilst she was still at school but she decided to study Music and English at Cambridge University before embarking fulltime on a musical profession.
A Patron of ClicSargent, the childhood cancer charity (www.clicsargent.org.uk), Emma likes to support a number of good causes through her concerts. She was the first woman to be made an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and was honoured with an M.B.E. in 1996.
Emma plays an instrument made by Peter Eaton.
"Emma Johnson has realised what lies at the heart of music making when it is at its best: she does not just perform but uses the music to communicate something wonderful."