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Viola Master Class: Leslie Johnson

Friday, May 19, 2023 - 1:30pm
Violist Leslie Johnson

Students of Melia Watras perform in a master class led by violist Leslie Johnson. 


Meghna Shankar: J.S. Bach - Chromatic Fantasy  
(transcribed for viola solo by Zoltán Kodály)
Flora Cummings: Rebecca Clarke - Sonata for viola and piano
III. Adagio - Agitato


Violist Leslie Faye Johnson received much of her performance training at The Juilliard School, as a student of William Lincer, completing both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees. Prior to attending Juilliard, Leslie studied with Kim Kashkashian, in New York City. Leslie’s Doctorate is from the University of Washington, where she studied viola with Eric Shumsky and orchestral repertoire with Steven Staryk.

Leslie performed for many years as Principal Violist/Solo Violist of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra in Seattle as well as with the Northwest Sinfonietta and Auburn Symphony. Leslie’s musical versatility makes her equally at home in an orchestra, string quartet or soloist.

As a chamber musician, Leslie has appeared as guest artist on many prominent Northwest chamber music series, including the Olympic Music Festival, Chamber Music San Juans, and the Second City Chamber Music Series. Leslie co-founded and was President of the Bellingham Chamber Music Society. Leslie also coaches chamber music at local high schools and for adult chamber music retreats. Leslie is currently a member of the ensemble A Piacere Musica da Camera.

A devoted private teacher, Leslie maintains a well-known viola studio: her students have consistently been the top winners in festivals and contests throughout the Northwest. Prior to establishing her studio, Leslie was Assistant Professor of Violin/Viola at Eastern Washington University.

Leslie's doctoral dissertation on the Shostakovich Viola Sonata was published by Bärenreiter, and is often used in scholarly research. In 2020, Leslie published two techniques books as well as a performer’s guide to Bach. She is currently revising and expanding the techniques books: they will be published in 2023. Leslie’s CD recording
 of the complete Six Bach Suites was released in 2013.