Violinist Mary Grace Johnson has appeared internationally at venues from Liszt Academy’s Solti Hall in Budapest to London’s Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. A decorated performer, her competition prizes include Grand Prize winner of the CURB Records concerto competition and first prize nationally at the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist String competition in Baltimore, Maryland. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School where she received her Master of Music degree under the tutelage of Laurie Smukler.
As a DACAMERA of Houston Young Artist, Ms. Johnson frequently performs at the Menil Collection, Galveston Artist Residency, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Moody Center, among others, and additionally performs with Houston collective ensembles Kinetic Ensemble, Loop38 and MUSIQA. A fervid orchestral musician, Ms. Johnson served as concertmaster of the Vanderbilt University Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra and the Rice University Chamber Orchestra under esteemed conductors Sir Mark Elder and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and Larry Rachleff and has performed with the Nashville Symphony, Gateway Chamber Orchestra and Princeton Symphony Orchestra among others. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Nashville Symphony and the Vanderbilt Orchestra, and aims to promote the music of underrepresented composers, especially historically underappreciated female composers, through her recital programming.
A passionate chamber musician, Ms. Johnson studied chamber music with the American, Blair, Escher, Juilliard and Pacifica quartets, and attended the Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. Her chamber music honors include finalist and honorary mention at the 2021 Bartok World String Quartet Competition in Budapest, quarterfinalist of the Fischoff Chamber Music Competition and 2nd prize at the National MTNA Chamber Music Competition in San Antonio, Texas. In 2018, she co-founded the Unison String Quartet, a group dedicated to the performance of contemporary chamber music and recent participants in the Juilliard String Quartet Seminar, Aspen Center for Advanced Quartet Studies and the Perlman Music Program.
Dedicated to music education and outreach, Ms. Johnson served on the faculty at the W.O. Smith Community Music School in Nashville and has coached chamber music at Vanderbilt's Blair Academy, Kneisel Hall Maine Students Program and the Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. A fervent believer in bringing the joy of music to those who would otherwise not have access, Mary Grace was a Juilliard Morse Fellow, teaching violin, viola and cello in Manhattan to students from diverse backgrounds as part of her fellowship. Ms. Johnson currently teaches in the American Festival for the Arts Chamber Music Academy and maintains a private studio, where her students have successfully auditioned for all-regional orchestras and pre-college programs. She received her Suzuki Training at Vanderbilt University with Carol Smith.
Ms. Johnson received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University, where she was awarded the Founder’s Medal for the Blair School of Music, the highest honor in her graduating class. She has had the honor of playing in masterclasses for several leading musicians including Glenn Dicterow, Augustin Hadelich, Ani Kavafian, Robert McDuffie, and Almita and Roland Vamos. In addition to the violin, she has studied the viola and baroque violin. She is currently pursuing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree with Paul Kantor at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University.
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