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Overview


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Overview


The Sonata suggests a haunted poem, and Johanson communicated its rare imagery in an intense, virtuosic performance.

-Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun

 

b.1989

Seattle, WA

 

Currently resides in:

Baltimore, MD

 

Degrees

Bachelor of Music from The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University

Master of Music from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University

 
 

 

Cellist Lavena Johanson is a commanding performer and a consummate musician. Her passion for chamber music has led to performances with esteemed artists such as Robert McDuffie, Ara Gregorian, Amit Peled, Andres Diaz, Amy Schwartz Moretti, and Nicholas Cords. Lavena was a founding member of the Atlas String Quartet, semifinalists in the 2014 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition. As a soloist and chamber musician, she has performed new and recent works by Ted Hearne, Amy Beth Kirsten, Caroline Shaw, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir on Baltimore's Evolution Contemporary Music Series. Lavena has also premiered two pieces written expressly for her by her husband, Judah Adashi, and is only the second cellist to have performed both of Michael Hersch's Sonatas for Unaccompanied Cello in one night. Most recently, Lavena toured as a cellist with the indie rock band Ra Ra Riot, playing to sold-out crowds at the 9:30 Club (Washington, DC), The House of Blues (Cleveland, OH), and Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL). On April 19th, 2017 she released a recording of Judah Adashi's piece The Beauty of the Protest for singing cellist. A native of Seattle, Lavena holds a Bachelor of Music degree from The Robert McDuffie Center for Strings and a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory. She plays on a cello made by Jason Viseltear and Robert Young in 2005.

News


"Cellist Lavena Johanson gives herself completely and effortlessly to Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto. Her Left Hand slides all the way down the strings with an ease and bravado any metal head could envy. she tosses her half-shaven head back with a smile, basking in the full backing of the orchestra, her joy, confidence, and thoroughly absorbing presence perfectly capturing the transformation and pride that come from surviving the horror, uncertainty, and grief brought on by large scale conflict." --- The occasional symphony Newsletter (2016)

News


"Cellist Lavena Johanson gives herself completely and effortlessly to Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto. Her Left Hand slides all the way down the strings with an ease and bravado any metal head could envy. she tosses her half-shaven head back with a smile, basking in the full backing of the orchestra, her joy, confidence, and thoroughly absorbing presence perfectly capturing the transformation and pride that come from surviving the horror, uncertainty, and grief brought on by large scale conflict." --- The occasional symphony Newsletter (2016)

News

 

upcoming:

 

MAY 9TH, 2017

Julia Wolfe's Retrieve for Cello and Bass with Joe Magar on the Evolution Contemporary Music Series.

APRIL 23RD, 2017

Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2 in E-flat Major with Tammy Seymour (violin) & Michael Sheppard (piano) at the Engineer's Club for a Concert Artists of Baltimore event.

APRIL 19TH, 2017

  • The OFFICIAL RELEASE of my recording of Judah Adashi's The Beauty of the Protest for singing cellist.
  • Performing in #RiseBmore2017: a free evening of words and music, of and for Baltimore, in honor of Freddie Gray. *This event is so important and so meaningful, especially for those of us who call Baltimore our home. You do not want to miss this. - LJ*

MARCH:

Performed Suite No. 1 for Unaccompanied Cello by J.S. Bach at the annual Bach Marathon @ St. David's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, MD.

 

past:

2016

 

November:

Became the second cellist to ever perform both of Michael Hersch's Solo Cello Sonatas in one evening.

October:

Together, with her husband, performed at TedX MidAtlantic.

September:

Played with Ra Ra Riot while they opened for Young The Giant's Home of the Strange Tour.

August:

GOT MARRIED!

May:

Performed the first two movements of the Elgar Cello Concerto with The Occasional Symphony Orchestra.

APRIL:

Premiered Judah Adashi's The Beauty of the Protest for singing cellist at #RiseBmore2016. From the Baltimore Sun review of the event: "Johanson performed the piece admirably." 

March - april:

Played with Ra Ra Riot on their Need Your Light Tour.

 

2015

October:

Performed the Elgar Cello Concerto with the Saratoga Symphony Orchestra in Whidbey Island, WA.

 

2014

September:

Released my heart comes undone for cello and looping pedal by Judah Adashi.

 

May:

Made it to the Semi-Finals of The Fischoff Chamber Music Competition with The Atlas String Quartet.

 

2013

February:

Performed Don Quixote by Richard Strauss with the Peabody Symphony Orchestra.

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Current Projects


Current Projects


Current Projects

 

Bach Cello suites No. 1 & 2

 

Brahms Double Concerto

 

Hersch last Autumn

This is a space for those who are interested in knowing what I am up to outside of the normal performing circuit. I have long term goals, passions, and interests that don't always have hard dates attached to them, but I still think they are worth sharing. Check out my journal to see more writings/thoughts about these projects and how they are progressing.

 

 

Photo credits: Faith Layla bocian (bio page photo), alexa frankovitch (ra ra riot show photos), Britt Olsen-ecker (headshots) and wasin Prasertlap (Quartet photos)