With a style described as eloquent by the Baltimore Sun, pianist Celeste Marie Johnson is deeply inspired by the unique power of words and music functioning in artistic tandem and constantly seeks diverse opportunities as a collaborative performer. Committed to fostering meaningful communication among artists and audience, Johnson makes herself an integral part in an ensemble of any size, from art song and chamber works to orchestral repertoire and operas.
In recent seasons, Johnson has collaborated extensively with Opera Coeur d’Alene, including positions as pianist for main-stage production rehearsals and music director and pianist for an outreach production of Seymour Barab’s Little Red Riding Hood that toured elementary schools in rural Idaho. She has also been involved with Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre for several seasons as both rehearsal and pit keyboardist. While living in Spokane, Johnson was a staff pianist at Whitworth and Gonzaga universities and toured in Colombia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with the Gonzaga University Chamber Choir. Previously, in Baltimore, Johnson performed regularly with innovative organizations such as the Occasional Symphony and Classical Revolution, in addition to her work for the Peabody Opera Department.
In the summer of 2016, Johnson was awarded the Apprentice Opera Coach fellowship to attend the Atlantic Music Festival, where she was an assistant coach for Mozart’s Così fan tutte, coached and performed art song, operatic, and chamber repertoire for recitals, and played for Russian diction classes with Anton Belov. Previous summers have included positions as a piano intern at the Hawai’i Performing Arts Festival, pianist for MN Opera’s Project Opera camps, and piano teaching assistant at the Interlochen Arts Academy summer camp. Johnson is a recipient of the 2018 Marc and Eva Stern Fellowship at SongFest, and she will also be a faculty member at the Young Artists Vocal Program at Boston University Tanglewood Institute this summer.
Johnson completed her Bachelor of Music in piano performance at Baylor University, where she studied with Dr. Jane Abbot-Kirk and her Master of Music in vocal accompanying at The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where she studied with Ms. Eileen Cornett. Currently, she is a DMA candidate in collaborative piano at Boston University in the studio of Dr. Javier Arrebola. Johnson has performed in master classes for Alan Smith, Margo Garrett, Martin Katz, Dawn Upshaw, Denyce Graves, and Arlene Shrut.