Violinist Mary Grace Johnson has performed internationally at venues from New York City's Lincoln Center to London's Royal Albert Hall as part of the 2019 BBC Proms. She made her symphony debut at age 17 with the Nashville Symphony as Grand Prize winner of the CURB Records concerto competition, and has also soloed with the Vanderbilt Symphony Orchestra and the Curb Youth Symphony. In 2017, she won first prize at the national level of the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist String competition in Baltimore, Maryland after winning the division and state competitions. She is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School where she received her Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Laurie Smukler.
A passionate chamber musician, Ms. Johnson was a founding member of the Aurelius String Quartet, the 2016 fellowship quartet in residence at the Wintergreen Chamber Music Festival. As part of their fellowship, the quartet toured Virginia and presented a full program to diverse audiences across the state. Invited to the quarterfinals of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, they received 2nd prize at the 2016 National MTNA Chamber Music Competition in San Antonio, Texas. She has received chamber music instruction from members of the American, Blair, and Pacifica quartets, as well as past and present members of the Juilliard String Quartet, and attended the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival for two years. In 2018, she co-founded the Unison String Quartet, a group dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music and recent participants in Juilliard String Quartet Seminar. A fervid orchestral musician, Ms. Johnson has served as concertmaster of the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, Eastern Music Festival Young Artist Orchestra and the Juilliard Orchestra under conductors Sir Mark Elder and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. An experienced professional orchestral musician, she has performed with the Nashville Symphony, Gateway Chamber Orchestra, and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, in addition to her session work in Nashville recording studios.
Ms. Johnson believes an important part of being an artist is training the next generation of arts appreciators. With over ten years of teaching experience, she received her Suzuki Training at Vanderbilt University with Carol Smith. In addition to maintaining a private teaching studio, she has also coached chamber music groups in Vanderbilt’s pre-college program and at Kneisel Hall’s Maine Students Program. A fervent believer in bringing the joy of music to those who would otherwise not have access, Mary Grace volunteer taught at the W.O. Smith Community Music School in Nashville and was a Juilliard Morse Fellow, teaching violin, viola and cello at City College Academy of the Arts in Manhattan to students from diverse backgrounds as part of her fellowship. Ms. Johnson's students have successfully auditioned for all-regional orchestras and pre-college programs. She is currently a DACAMERA Young Artist in Houston, Texas and frequently performs and teaches in Houston public schools, museums and hospitals.
Mary Grace received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music, where she received the Founder’s Medal, the highest honor in her graduating class. In addition to the violin, Mary Grace has studied the viola with Kathryn Plummer and the baroque violin with Allison Nyquist and Cynthia Roberts. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music, studying with Paul Kantor.
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