Pianist Kirsten Johnson is a brilliant live performer and a recording artist of international acclaim. She explores all possible sonorities, has technical flair and brings music to life in imaginative and inspired ways. Kirsten Johnson is a real poet of the keyboard.
This love of music has led Kirsten to delve into new repertoire and record many works for the first time. Her first two professional recordings, CDs of Albanian piano music, introduced these unknown pieces to a world-wide audience. “Kirsten Johnson...expounds all this repertoire with manifest sympathy and skill. An unexpected delight.” [BBC Music Magazine on Këngë: Albanian Piano Music]
Dr. Johnson has recorded all of the piano pieces written by esteemed American composer Amy Beach (1867-1944) in a set of four discs. The second album, Amy Beach, Piano Music: The Turn of the Century, was chosen as Recording of the Yearby Music Web International 2009: "It's always rewarding to discover little-known music of real quality, even more so when it's as beautifully played as this. There are two sharp intellects at work here, that of the composer and the pianist Kirsten Johnson, and together they produce music of astonishing range and subtlety. Guild's recording is warm, detailed and entirely natural, which makes this a must for all pianophiles."
Kirsten has also recorded the complete piano works of Heinrich Schultz-Beuthen (1838-1915) and pieces by Hermann Goetz (1840-1876): Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen - Piano Music and Hermann Goetz - Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen - Piano Music. The original manuscripts to these pieces were lost in the fire bombing of Dresden. This project was led by the University of Zurich who hold first editions of the music.
In 2013 Kirsten released a three-CD box set of the piano music of “Boston Six” composer Arthur Foote (1853-1937): Complete Piano Music. This compilation was featured in the US edition of Gramophone in January 2014, with Kirsten giving an artist interview on page 1! The world premiere release of Foote’s piano music has been heralded in the international press: “Mein Gott! Was ist das für fantastische Klaviermusik!” (Crescendo, January 2014) and was nominated for the EchoKlassik 2014 awards.
Dr. Johnson’s most recent recordings are two discs of Dmitri Kabalevky’s piano music for Nimbus. A Recital of Concert Pieces features the extraordinary discovery of Kabalevky’s Opus 1, Three Preludes for Piano. Kirsten unearthed this in a music library in Paris, and Nimbus Music Publishing has now released a printed edition of the work. Dmitri Kabalevsky: Piano Pieces for Children Young & Old boasts many wonderful gems, including the piece that inspired these two discs, Seven Good-Humoured Variations, which Kirsten fell in love with at the age of 11!
Kirsten’s thirteen solo discs have been broadcast around the world, including BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM, many stations in the US, Holland, Germany, including disc of the week on Swedish Radio. Her success as a recording artist has not dampened her enthusiasm for live performance. Kirsten has performed internationally, including the US, UK, Austria, Italy, Albania, Japan, the Wigmore Hall and the Purcell Room. Kirsten made her UK debut at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford, an amazing hall which was the first purpose-built concert hall in Europe.
Dr. Johnson offers programmes of traditional concert repertoire coupled with selections from her many recordings. She is also a composer and keen champion of new music. Kirsten is a super performer, a one-of-a-kind artist who has not followed the traditional competition pathway but has pursued her own artistic vision, establishing herself at the forefront of her profession.
No cuts or alterations of any kind should be made to this biography without the consent of Kirsten Johnson.
Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky - A Recital of Concert Pieces
Dmitri Borisovich Kabalevsky: Piano Pieces for Children, Young and Old
Foote: Complete Piano Music
Kenge - Albanian Piano Works
Piano Music by Amy Beach - Vol. 1, The Early Works
Piano Music by Amy Beach - Vol. 2, The Turn of the Century
Piano Music by Amy Beach - Vol. 3, The Mature Years
Piano Music by Amy Beach - Vol. 4, The Late Works
Piano Music by Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen
Piano Music by Hermann Goetz and Heinrich Schulz-Beuthen
Rapsodi: Albanian Piano Works Volume 2
- "One of the very best piano recordings I've heard."
- Recording of the Month, July 2011 (MusicWeb International on A.Beach, Piano Music: The Late Works)