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Hilary Johnson


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M.A., Ethnomusicology, University of Washington, 2013
B.A., Jazz Studies, University of Southern California

Hilary John­son, a grad­u­ate stu­dent in Eth­no­mu­si­col­ogy at the Uni­ver­sity of Washington’s School of Music, devel­oped an early love for sounds. Born and raised in the Seat­tle area, her self-education in early MGM musi­cals and Ella Fitzger­ald was sup­ple­mented by par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Seat­tle Girls’ Choir, and school jazz bands as a bari­tone sax­o­phone player and vocal­ist.  At the Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, where she majored in Jazz Stud­ies, she con­tin­ued to per­form and com­pose in the jazz idiom while explor­ing oth­ers as well—Brazilian samba, música pop­u­lar brasileira, music in Québec, Amer­i­can roots music, and con­tem­po­rary songwriting/production that fuses many gen­res. Her areas of inter­est include Amer­i­can roots music, con­tem­po­rary styles that engage with those tra­di­tions, issues of ethnic/racial rep­re­sen­ta­tion, and cul­tural nos­tal­gia. She’s also par­tic­u­larly curi­ous about sub­cul­tures of the “mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion” and post­mod­ern iden­tity for­ma­tion. In 2013, Hilary pre­sented her paper, “‘An Enchant­ing Place Apart’: Imag­in­ing Appalachia in Indie Folk,” at the SEM North­west Chap­ter meet­ing and was awarded the Thelma Adam­son Prize for best stu­dent presentation.