Johnson, David

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David Johnson


Born: October 1, 1948

Country: Port Angeles, Washington, U.S.A.

Studies: University of Washington, California Institute for the Arts

Teachers: Ken Benshoof, Donald Crockett, John Bergamo, David Friedman


David Johnson is a composer, marimba/vibraphone soloist, percussionist and keyboard player. He is known for his unique touch and approach to new classical music, improvisation, and blending of jazz and classical sensibilities. David plays with a wide range of ensembles including PARTCH, XTET, the New Century Players, the Kim Richmond Jazz Orchestra, the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, Dark Wing, Roger Williams, the Lian Ensemble and the Nate La Pointe Band. He was a member of the historic Blackearth Percussion Group and has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, John Zorn, Pierre Boulez, Wadada Leo Smith, Yusef Lateef, Stuart Copeland, Green Day, Dave Brubeck, and the California Ear Unit among others.

His composition “Quartz City” for vibraphone soloist and percussion quintet won the Percussive Arts Society composition competition in 1995. It has become a standard work in the college percussion ensemble repertoire and is performed frequently throughout the world. Other recent compositions include “The Oregon Variations” for marimba soloist and percussion quintet, “Etudes for Vibraphone”, “Shape Shifter” for vibraphone and marimba, “Dark Wing” for cello and marimba, and “Nine Sheets to the Wind” for a mixed chamber ensemble and improviser. His works are performed nationally and internationally. David’s original compositions are also included on the Lian Records Dark Wing CD “The Hidden Sacred” and on “Dual Force” recorded with guitarist Ken Rosser on the Nine Winds label.

David studied with Ed Grier, John Bergamo, Shankar Gosh, Zakir Hussein, Dave Friedman, Bill Kraft and Charlie Shoemake, He has been on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts since 1991 and teaches at the Academy of Creative Education, a summer youth arts program in Los Angeles. He has performed and given clinics at numerous universities, colleges and other venues throughout the United States. He occasionally works in the movie industry on Local 47 recording sessions and can be heard on approximately 40 movies including, Spider Man Three and Matrix.[1]

Works for Percussion

Dark Wing - Marimba; Cello
Etudes for Vibraphone - Vibraphone
Obra de la Tierra - Multiple Percussion
The Oregon Variations - Marimba; Percussion Quintet
Quartz City - Vibraphone; Percussion Quintet
Shape Shifter - Marimba; Vibraphone; Percussion Duo