Graeme Steele Johnson and Yevgeny Yontov

May 8, 2019, 12:15 pm

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Clarinetist Graeme Steele Johnson and pianist Yevgeny Yontov present a program of Brahms and Debussy for this live broadcast of the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concert.



Winner of the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition and the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition, Graeme Steele Johnson has established a multifaceted career as a clarinetist, writer and artistic producer. As a soloist and chamber musician, he has appeared recently at the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Chicago’s Symphony Center, and as a concerto soloist with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Caroga Lake and Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestras. His festival appearances include Maverick Concerts, the Music Mountain Festival and Luzerne Chamber Music Festival. Johnson recently became the first clarinetist to join the Young Artists roster of the Center for Musical Excellence, and his upcoming engagements include performances at the Ravinia Festival and as a featured speaker and performer at this year’s TEDxOakLawn conference in Dallas.

Recently debuted in New York, his new show IMPRESSION weaves the chamber music of Debussy and Ravel with the poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, culminating in Johnson’s own octet arrangement of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. His arrangement is scheduled to be performed at Chamber Music Northwest in 2020, featuring David Shifrin, Ransom Wilson and Nancy Allen.

Johnson holds graduate degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he studied with David Shifrin and Ricardo Morales and was twice awarded the school’s Alumni Association Prize. His writing about music continues to be published in program booklets by Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, Yale and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Yevgeny Yontov has established himself as one of the most promising Israeli pianists of his generation. As finalist in the 2017 Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, he received the Prize for Best Performance of Chamber Music, and the Prize for the Best Israeli Pianist. Other international top prizes include gold medals at the Wideman International Piano Competition and Berliner International Music Competition.

A founding member of icarus Quartet, a 2piano/2percussion chamber group, Mr. Yontov holds chamber music close to heart. He has performed chamber music across five continents in venues that include Carnegie Hall and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington D.C. As a soloist, Mr. Yontov’s orchestral engagements include numerous orchestras in the US, and all major Israeli orchestras. Mr. Yontov’s debut CD, “Schubert: Piano Variations,” was released on Naxos Records in 2017, and includes seldom performed piano variations and fragments by Schubert.

Mr. Yontov began his musical studies at the age of six with Adela Umansky, and later received his B. Mus degree summa cum laude from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music at Tel-Aviv University, where he studied with Prof. Arie Vardi. He then moved to the US to study with Prof. Boris Berman at the Yale School of Music, where he received his M.M. degree and is currently pursuing his D.M.A.

Mr. Yontov has given masterclasses across the US, Israel, and China, and in 2018, he joined the distinguished piano faculty of Bowling Green State University.

Biographies courtesy of the IMF Chicago website.

  • Arabesque No. 1: Andantino con moto from Deux arabesques, L. 66, by Claude Debussy
    arr. Graeme Steele Johnson

  • Première Rhapsodie, L. 116, by Claude Debussy

  • Sonata for Clarinet and Piano in E-Flat Major, Op. 120, No 2, by Johannes Brahms
    Allegro amabile
    Allegro appassionato
    Andante con moto — Allegro

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