William Johnston

William Johnston

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First season with the SO: 2004

Violist William Johnston enjoys a varied career as a performer and educator. Praised for his "richly lyrical tone and expressive playing" (ArtsATL.com), recent performance highlights include his solo debut with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra and an appearance at the Primrose International Viola Festival. William is principal violist of The Atlanta Opera and performs regularly with the viola sections of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Naples Philharmonic, and Sarasota Orchestra. He is a frequent guest on chamber music series around Atlanta, and has appeared at summer festivals including Aspen, Kent/Blossom, and as principal violist of the Utah Festival Opera.

A devoted teacher, William maintains a private studio in Atlanta, where his students have been accepted as performance majors at institutions such as the Peabody Institute and Indiana University. William has presented masterclasses at the Primrose International Viola Festival and numerous colleges and universities, and serves as visiting Lecturer of Viola at the University of Florida School of Music in the Fall of 2018. He is the Program Coordinator and a faculty member of Franklin Pond Chamber Music, a year-round chamber music program for talented Atlanta string students. William is also a Licensed Andover Educator and offers lessons and workshops in Body Mapping, a method of preventing injury and enhancing performance by providing accurate information about the body in movement.

William is a native of Sarasota, and graduated from Pine View School. He is also an alumnus of all the Sarasota Orchestra education programs, including the Sarasota Music Festival. Beginning music lessons with the piano at age four, he later studied the viola with Dorothy Stahler, Alison Heydt, Victoria Chiang, James Dunham, and Robert Vernon. He received licensure training in Body Mapping from Jennifer Johnson, and studied Suzuki pedagogy with Kimberly Meier-Sims. William is a graduate of the Peabody Institute and Rice University, and is the first violist to earn the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

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Written byHerald Tribune

 There's no doubt, audiences are thrilled by the Sarasota Orchestra's new music director, Anu Tali. She's brought an intense energy from the orchestra in previous performances and we found this yet again in a downright thrill ride of an encounter...  

Written byHerald Tribune

 Literally gripping the arms of my seat, I was not the only one propelled on this rollercoaster of delightful music.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 Every section and soloist within the orchestra played their role with strength and beauty; every tree proud and tall. Tali served as an excellent guide leading the forces with assured confidence. The overall sound was lush and, yes, intense just where it needed to be.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 The Sarasota Orchestra was brimming with bubbling energy...  

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 A lifetime of musical moments, cinematic in scope, gave every section of the orchestra a leading role at one time or another. Chief among them was the virtuosic solo of concertmaster Daniel Jordan.  

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 It was a thrill ride resulting in an explosion of audience enthusiasm.  

Written byHerald Tribune

 Tali conveyed a clear vision for the dramatic outline of this symphony, carefully pacing the darker, searching character of the music with pastoral conversations among voices in the orchestra.  

Written byThe Observer

 If you haven’t seen Tali yet, this will be a great introduction to the skyrocketing conductor who’s quickly becoming a household name around the world. You’ll see why we feel we’re lucky to have her here.  

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