Praised by newspaper critics and reviewers nationwide for playing “expressively with a well-paced succession of beautifully spaced phrases” and for being “equally at home shaping elegant legato lines and executing high flying gymnastics”, Hornist Robert Johnson enjoys an established and versatile career as an orchestral and chamber musician, soloist, and teacher of horn.
Before joining the Houston Symphony in 2012 as Associate Principal Horn, Mr. Johnson was Assistant Principal/Utility Horn of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, Principal Horn of both the Dayton Philharmonic and Richmond Symphony, and Fourth Horn of the Honolulu Symphony. He has also performed with the Houston Grand Opera, IRIS Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Saint Louis and San Antonio Symphonies, and as a Guest Principal Horn with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Disney Hall with Gustavo Dudamel, The Philadelphia Orchestra with broadcasts on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall with Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Mr. Johnson has performed as a Concerto Soloist with the Dayton Philharmonic, Kinetic New Music Ensemble, Houston Symphony, New World Symphony, Texas Music Festival, at Chicago’s Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and nationwide as a recitalist and chamber musician. In the summers, Mr. Johnson has performed with the AIMS, Aspen, Cascade, Colorado, Strings, Tanglewood, and Texas Music Festivals, as well as the Perlman Music Program in both Shelter Island, NY and Sarasota, FL, and nine seasons with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He can be heard performing on numerous recordings, commercials, and soundtracks made with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, Dayton Philharmonic, Horns United COVID 19 Horn Ensemble, Nashville String Machine Studio Orchestra, the Rice Horn Crew, and the Houston Symphony.
Upcoming and recent performances include multiple performances of the Beethoven Horn Sonata in celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, Britten’s Serenade for Horn, Tenor, and Strings, Brass Trio Faculty Recitals both at the University of Houston and the James Turrell Live Oak Skyspace, the Beethoven Septet and Schubert Octet with the Greenbriar Consortium, reengagement with the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston’s Yom Ha’Shoah Zikaron Ba’Salon Recital Series, Strauss’ Don Quixote for Sextet at the Texas Music Festival, Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks at MATCH, and Mozart’s Horn and Strings Quintet at the University of Houston.
In the Fall of 2013, Mr. Johnson joined the faculty of the Moores School of Music as an Affiliate Artist at the University of Houston. Also a faculty member at the Atlantic and Texas Music Festivals, he is in demand to lead masterclasses and lectures nationwide, most recently at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, in South America for the Filarmónica Joven in both Paipa and Medellín, Colombia, at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, and for the Horns-United Covid 19 Pandemic Online Masterclass Series.
Mr. Johnson's previous and current students enjoy regular acceptance and appointment to, as well as audition success with a multitude of prestigious universities, conservatories, awards, and summer music festivals, including full-scholarship and majority-scholarship acceptances to Boston, Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati, Colburn, DePaul, Eastman, Juilliard, Indiana, Manhattan School, New England, Northwestern, Oberlin, Peabody, Rice, Roosevelt, San Francisco, and the University of Southern California. Music Festivals, Competitions, and Awards include Banff Centre for the Arts, Boston University’s Tanglewood Institute, Carnegie Hall’s National Youth Orchestra of the United States, Juilliard’s Kovner Fellowship Grant, Interlochen Arts Camp and Academy, prize winner in the Siegfried’s Call Engelbert Schmid Horn Competition, Yamaha’s Young Performing Artist Program, as well as the Aspen, Brevard, Domaine Forget, Eastern, Hot Springs, Lucerne, Music in the Mountains, Pacific, Sarasota, Spoleto, and Texas Music Festivals as well as the Cavaliers and Blue Stars Drum Corps. His students have won auditions, held positions and regularly counted performances with the United States Air Force Band, Army Band, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony, Canton Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony, Louisiana Philharmonic, Orquesta Filharmonica de Boca del Rio, Round Rock Symphony (TX), University of Hawaii-Manoa, United States Army Band Pershing’s Own, Boise Philharmonic, Cincinnati Symphony, City Music Cleveland, Houston Ballet Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Pittsburgh Opera, Pittsburgh Symphony, Mobile Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, and San Antonio Symphony.
A proud graduate of Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, he studied with mentor William VerMeulen. Additionally, Mr. Johnson earned the prestigious Leadership Institute for Non-Profit Executives certificate from Rice University, specializing in Development and Executive Management of Educational and Arts Organizations. Utilizing this additional training, he has helped a number of arts and non-profit organizations achieve their fundraising goals through various events and campaigns. Mr. Johnson is a lifetime member of the International Horn Society and has authored and photographed for The Horn Call magazine and produced video content featured on Slipped Disc and The Strad. An outspoken advocate for men’s infertility, he has been the subject of and contributed to multiple articles in Psychology Today and the New York Times. His family’s Music Time series presented by the Houston Symphony during the Covid-19 pandemic has been featured in a variety of press including several local television spots, articles in the Houston Chronicle and Broadway World, podcasts by Encyclopedia Britannica, and has garnered well over half a million views and counting worldwide. He is married to flutist, jeweler, and teacher, Ariella Perlman ( www.ariellaperlmanjewelry.com ) with whom he answers endless questions from their young twin boys, Ezra and Reuben, joyfully plays driveway tennis with their pre-schooler Avner, all while changing diapers for their fourth son, Ira, born January, 2022.
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