As a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician Karen Johnson's playing has been applauded for its "intimacy and warmth of tone" (Santa Barbara Independent) and her performances hailed as "virtuosically energized and broadly lyrical" (Richmond Times-Dispatch). In a review of a solo CD (Brioso Records) with pianist Joanne Kong, the American Record Guide stated, "It is a real pleasure to discover a violinist of the caliber of Karen Johnson... Her tone is broad and pure, her attacks are flawlessly incisive, her vibrato nicely modulated, and her intonation infallible..."
Ms. Johnson has performed in concerts throughout the United States and Europe and has worked with a variety of renowned conductors and musicians, such as James DePriest, Sergiu Commissiona, Yuri Temirkanov, Victor Yampolsky, Gerard Schwarz, and Joseph Silverstein. From 2002-2010, Karen was Concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. She has also been invited be guest concertmaster with such orchestras as the Seattle Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, and Oregon Symphony. She was recently a featured soloist, with pianist Joanne Kong, at WCVE's celebration of Robert Schumann's bicentennial with a live concert featuring the chamber music of Schumann.
Karen began her musical studies in her hometown of Gilbert, AZ, at the age of 4. At age 10, she became the pupil of Dr. William Magers at Arizona State University and under his tutelage won such competitions as the Corpus Christi International Young Artist Competition, the Midland-Odessa National Young Artist Competition, the National MTNA Yamaha String Competition. In 1996, Ms. Johnson earned her Bachelor of Music degree at the Juilliard School as the pupil of Joel Smirnoff and was the first prize winner of several local and national competitions, including the Juilliard Sibelius Violin Concerto Competition. She completed her Masters degree at the University of Maryland - College Park in 2002, studying with William Preucil, Concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra and former first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet.
Currently, Ms. Johnson is a regular performer in the Washington DC area, performing as a soloist with local orchestras and as a chamber musician in venues such as the White House, the Phillips Collection, the State Department, and the residence of the Vice President. Along with her professional career, Karen is also the full time mom of three daughters and a busy Suzuki parent of both an aspiring violinist and cellist.