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Christopher Johnson


  “Johnson gave this two-fisted Romantic blockbuster (Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No. 2) a sharply etched, strongly attacked performance that brought out its surge and passion. And after the minor key melancholy of the first two movements, Johnson unleashed the riotous coloration and surging sense of victory over adversity in the finale with blazing technique and an exciting rhythmic fillip at

the end.”

— Herman Trotter, THE BUFFALO NEWS 


     “To hear Christopher Johnson perform (Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1), on the cusp of a great career, is to believe. Possessing a Van Cliburn intensity, he deserves to have the career of a true musical star.” 

— David Palladino, THE WESTFIELD LEADER (New Jersey)


     “Johnson has everything to make a big career: musicality, technique to squander, a touch capable of the merest whisper or a thunderous sound and stage presence. With these indisputable gifts, he should shortly be following in the footsteps of Murray Perahia or Krystian Zimmerman.”  

— Robert H. Newall, THE ELLSWORTH AMERICAN (Maine’s Largest Weekly Newspaper)


     “an utterly convincing and technically astounding performance of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata. I have rarely heard any pianist (except perhaps Toradze's phenomenal recording) play this unforgiving piece with the clarity and coherence with which Mr. Johnson explicated its knottiest problems.” 



On Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor:

    “From the opening bars, it became apparent that this was to be a highly unorthodox interpretation, the soloist laying bare inner voices and countermelodies in a revelatory manner. One could appreciate the amount of thought, analysis, and practice that Johnson invested in reimagining the concerto so thoroughly. The Sinfonietta relished the opportunity to dig in and deliver sensuous sonorities rivaling the Philadelphia Orchestra. Johnson’s technical accuracy was irreproachable; his rip-roaring coda to the finale was electrifying.
— Michael Sherwin, EPOCH TIMES (New York City)


On Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor:
    “I had never heard Christopher Johnson before, but he is exciting to watch. Head thrown back, arms raised in triumph, 
he makes Lang Lang resemble a stone! He made the Grieg sing, has a terrific technique, and, along with conductor Hong, obviously enjoyed the opportunity of giving unalloyed joy in the church.”

— Harry Rolnick, CONCERTONET (New York)

     “It took nothing more to merit all these superlatives than his handling of Beethoven’s “Waldstein Sonata.” His supple fingers easily grasped the segments with filigree over a stern bass. His passagework and hand-over-hand manipulations immaculate, he observed keenly the architecture of this demanding piece and performed it with affection, underscoring the delicate sections as well as the volcanic outbursts. Frankly, though I treasure the recording of Maurizio Pollini, I certainly could not rate his interpretation above Johnson’s

— Robert H. Newall, THE ELLSWORTH AMERICAN (Maine’s Largest Weekly Newspaper)


     “The (Barber) Sonata for Piano was commissioned by pianist Vladimir Horowitz, who wanted something by an American composer to display his own virtuosity. It was a perfect vehicle for Horowitz’s emotional style of playing, and on Saturday night, Johnson proved that it was no less suited to his athletic, intensely physical style. Johnson’s interpretation communicated its emotional complexity with devastating immediacy.”


     “He has a brilliant technique, a lack of mannerisms, and an approach to the instrument that demonstrates ease and professionalism. The F-Major Nocturne of Chopin provided proof of artistry in addition to technique. The voicing of the inner lines in addition to the top note melody was the subtle topping, which lifts Johnson’s pianism above and beyond the mere competence expected from a student of the great pianists Abbey Simon and Byron Janis.


     “Johnson showed a wide range of tone and dynamics, often contrasting booming low notes with dappled right-hand pianissimos. He also showed a fine hand at syncopation, and his approach to the (Brahms) Sonata Opus 1, No.1 brought this out unequivocally. A Gershwin encore also showed his sure touch with subtle rhythms.”
— Peter Spencer, THE STAR LEDGER (New Jersey’s Largest Newspaper)

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