In 1722, celebrated Baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a set of contrapuntal exercises called Preludes and Fugues, one in each major and minor key of the twelve-step chromatic scale. This systematic series of intellectual and technical keyboard exercises was intended “for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for… READ MORE

Somewhere during the Spring Semester 2017 at Peabody, I had a revelation. I was working with a student on Bartok’s Mikrokosmos, and somehow my student and I got into a conversation about counterpoint, during which I mused out loud, “How cool would it be to juxtapose ALL of Bach’s Preludes and Fugues with ALL of… READ MORE

When classical musicians are asked for the name of their favorite composer, more of them offer the name “Johannes Brahms” than any other. I’m fond of a quote by Brahms biographer Jan Swafford which posits that Brahms’s appeal stems from his embrace in his writing of “the counterpoint of Bach, the architecture of Beethoven, and… READ MORE

I’m in the movies again! And so is my piano! Many of you know that my recording with Peter Minkler of Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel, was used in the official teaser trailer for the blockbuster 2013 film Gravity. As of today this trailer has 9,248,738 views. (Probably only 50 of those are my mom.)… READ MORE

I’ve just been through a fairly overwhelming life experience, one which feels right now like an arrival of sorts, or the crossing of a finish line. As I pause for breath here on this small metaphorical personal mountaintop, marveling at and giving thanks for the view, I’m inspired to reflect on teachers and how profound… READ MORE

DUO BALTINATI cellist Ilya Finkelshteyn and pianist Lura Johnson was named Second Prizewinner in the 2015 International Brahms Competition in Pörtschach, Austria. The duo was selected out of 32 ensembles and 77 artists. Their program included Schumann Fantasiestücke, Bolcom Capriccio, both Brahms Cello Sonatas, Beethoven C Major Cello Sonata, Debussy Cello Sonata, and Piazzolla’s Le… READ MORE

Lura’s recent performances of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with the Pennsylvania Philharmonic, as a part of its presentation of Disney’s “Fantasia,” received accolades last week. “Johnson’s piano work was spot-on, with a lovely cadenza and flawless timing as she kept pace with the action, be it a riveter, ice skater or a child at a… READ MORE

“It’s enough of a treat to hear Jenny Lin, Lura Johnson or Audrey Andrist perform — but to have all three pianists on the same stage, as they were on Sunday at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is just a spectacular abundance of talent…  Johnson’s riveting account of Prokofiev’s “Sonata No. 7, Op. 83,” though,… READ MORE

From the BSO’s new series:  Backstage with the BSO at Strathmore:       No Week is Ever the Same “The beauty of my work is that no week is ever the same. If the orchestra repertoire in a given week doesn’t call for a keyboard instrument, I’m off playing solo or chamber music,” explained… READ MORE

Does 9/11 feel to you like it was a long time ago?   Members of the Peabody Children’s Chorus, who are performing with us this week and who are singing about the event, were not even alive when it occurred.  What understanding could they possibly have of the text they are singing?  But wait, I’m… READ MORE