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    Johnson, Elisabeth Remy

    Harpist from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, who studied with Alice Chalifoux at the Salzedo Summer Harp Colony in Camden, Maine, and Ann Hopson Pilot in Boston.


    In 1990, she performed Alberto Ginastera’s “Harp Concerto” in tandem with the New England Conservatory Youth Philharmonic Orchestra. 


    She graduated from YoungArts, a program of the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts, in 1991. 


    In 1992, she won first place in the Pre-professional Division of the American String Teachers Association National Solo Competition.  She replicated this feat in 1993 in the Advanced Division of the American Harp Society National Competition. 


    In 1995, she graduated with a double major in French and Music from Harvard University.  It did not take her long to put her music degree to work:  The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra employed her as their principal harpist shortly thereafter.


    In 1996, she performed at the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.


    She accompanied the Robert Shaw Chamber Singers on their 1997 stocking stuffer, A Robert Shaw Christmas:  Angels on High.


    On 9th March 1999, she was one of four ASO members who joined the Georgian Chamber Players for a concert at Oglethorpe University’s Miriam H. and John A. Conant Performing Arts Center.  Elisabeth’s turns in the spotlight included Claude Debussy’s “Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp” and Maurice Ravel’s “Introduction and Allegro for Harp, String Quartet, Flute and Clarinet”.


    In June 2000, she participated in the American Harp Society’s national conference at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, where she performed with fellow harpists Mariko Anraku, Virginie Gout, Elizabeth Hainen and Isabelle Perrin on concerto night.  Elisabeth delivered the concert finale, Andre Caplet’s “Masque de la mort rouge (Conte fantatisque)”.


    On 24th October 2000, she and flautist Christina Smith performed a free concert at Ponce de Leon Library under the umbrella of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Community Partners in Performance Series.  Around this time, her first solo album, Whirlwind, arrived in stores.  As if she weren’t busy enough, she found time to start up the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble at Brown Middle School in Atlanta.  Number of students in her class?  Two.


    In 2001, she returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, for the American Harp Society Convention, and wowed conventioneers with her rendition of Maciej Malecki’s “Concertino in an Old Style”.  Showing off her versatility, she also soloed at Pops in the Park with the Cape Symphony.  She revisited some familiar territory with the Cape Symphony in April 2001, when she reprised Ginastera’s “Concerto for Harp and Orchestra, Op. 25” at the BHS Performing Arts Center in Hyannis, Maine.


    In 2002, she became a member of the Kennesaw State University faculty as an Artist-in-Residence in Harp.  Meantime, she continued to teach at Brown Middle School, and her enrollment was slowly growing.


    On 27th October 2002, she helped premiere Augusta Read Thomas’s “Passion Prayers” at Suffolk University’s C. Walsh Theatre, under the direction of David Hoose.  Joel Moershel was the solo cellist. 


    An avid runner, Elisabeth has logged a lot of kilometers in marathons throughout the world.  On 2nd February 2003, she finished first in her age group and 29th overall in the 5th Annual Hughston Medicine Sports Center Half Marathon, with a time of 1:42: 23.8.  She swam for ½ mile, ran for 6.6 miles, and biked 27 more in the 23rd Annual Main Sport Triathlon in Camden Maine, on 31st August 2003. 


    On 1st April 2004, she and Roselyn Lewis received an 11Alive Community Service Award for the creation and development of the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble.


    The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday on 13th January 2005 at Morehouse College with Leonard Bernstein’s “Symphony No. 1” (“Jeremiah”), “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, arranged by Roland Carter, Scott Joplin’s “Overture to Treemonisha”, William Grant Still’s “Afro-American Symphony”, and Frederick Tillis’sEv’ry Time I Feel the Spirit”.


    In February 2005, Elisabeth found herself in the limelight once again when they offered up an all-Handel affair that included the master’s “Harp Concerto” followed by “Water Music”.


    The Urban Youth Harp Ensemble received a rave review for their concert in May 2005 that included Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Bouree”.  By this time, Elisabeth’s and Roselyn’s little program that had begun with only two students now comprised twenty-six.


    On 11th June 2005, Elisabeth tied the knot with Livingstone James Johnson at the First Parish Unitarian Church in Brewster, Massachusetts.


    In 2006, she gave the world premiere of Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s “Son Ris” at the American Harp Society National Convention.


    She was a key player in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Richard Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration” and “Four Last Songs” and Richard Wagner’s prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde in April 2006. 


    In July 2006, she was back at the American Harp Society Conference, teaching a workshop on college perspectives and giving a recital of new music by Pacific Rim composers.  The AHS named her Southeast Regional Director in November 2006.  Another accolade she received in the autumn of 2006 was the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s Honorary UPS Community Service Chair.


    In December 2006, Elisabeth accompanied the Gwinnett Singers for “A Ceremony of Carols” by Benjamin Britten at Atlanta Symphony Hall for Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.


    These two groups collaborated with the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet on Osvaldo Golijov:  Oceana, which hit the shelves in 2007.


    She was the featured soloist in the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s program of Claude Debussy’s “Danses sacree et profane”, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris”, Darius Milhaud’s “La creation du monde”, and Maurice Ravel’s “La Valse” et “Valses nobles et sentimentales” on 25th October 2007.


    In November 2007, she was a panelist at the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse, hosted by the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Georgia, which included a performance by the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble.


    Elisabeth and flautist Christina Smith released a duets CD entitled Encantamiento in the autumn of 2008.  Other recordings on which she appears include Harp Spectacular, with Anna Reinersman, and Patrick McFarland & Friends.


    She was a featured artist in Adventures with the Orchestra as part of the Young People’s Concerts at Mt. Carmel Christian Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, on 14th October 2008.  In December 2008, she was at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta where she accompanied the Women of the Chancel Choir for excerpts from Britten’s aforementioned “Ceremony of Carols”.


    In June 2009, Elisabeth, along with Christina and soprano Alison Buchanan, performed a Candlelight Concert at the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival in Fort Clinch Park in Fernandina Beach, Florida.  This trio was also intact for the Madison Chamber Music Festival’s Heavenly Sounds, a mixture of new American music and spirituals and other works from the Civil War era, at the Church of the Advent.  Elisabeth teamed up with mezzo-soprano Krista River and pianist Donald Enos for the Meeting House Chamber Music Festival for a series of recitals that included “Les Nuits de’te” by Hector Berlioz.    


    By this time, the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble was headquartered at Carver High School and boasted sixty-five pupils from eight different public schools in Atlanta.


    On 15th September 2009, Elisabeth reunited with Christina for the Emory Faculty Artist Affiliate Recital (yes, she is on the faculty there, as well) at the Emerson Concert Hall, which is located in the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts.


    The Atlanta Business Chronicle bestowed their Up & Comers Award upon her in the autumn of 2009 for her educational leadership in the community of Atlanta.


    She was at Georgia Tech’s Alumni House ballroom on 16th November 2009 for John Zorn’s “Orphee”, a sextet scored for electronic keyboard, flute, harp, laptop (!), percussion, and viola. 


    On 24th January 2010, the musicians of the Urban Youth Harp Ensemble were featured performers at the Atlanta Harp Center for the meeting of the American Harp Society’s Georgia Chapter.  Elisabeth was in attendance and also had the pleasure of watching one of her other students, Laura Silverstein, perform.  Other students who have benefited from her tutelage include Martina Davenport, Angelica Hairston, Riza Hequibal, Chandra Moore, Mason Morton, Jill Roberts, and DeMario Ward. 


    In April 2010, Elisabeth gave a series of warm-up concerts at various locales in anticipation of her upcoming appearance at the Rio Harp Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  The venues included the Big Canoe Chapel, Margaret Mitchell Square, and the North Avenue Presbyterian Church, where she interpreted works by Graham Lynch, Marjan Mozetich, and Carlos Salzedo.


    The Rio Harp Festival took place in May 2010.  On 6th May 2010, Elisabeth gave the Brazilian premiere of “The Hanging-Cloud Bridge” by Graham Lynch at the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes.  In the same month, she was also asked to be one of the adjudicators at the Young Artist’s Harp Competition.


    Elisabeth capped off the 2010 Meeting House Chamber Music Festival with a post-season concert on 1st August alongside keyboardist Donald Enos and soprano Joan Kirchner at the First Parish Unitarian in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.



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