A brave violinist – a boundary breaking and electrifying artist
Victoria Johnson masters the violin’s virtuoso opportunities in adept and innovative meeting with electronics and video. Johnson plays, commissions and produces new music for acoustic and electric violin, she co-creates, improvises and works with artistic interdisciplinary in her musical vocation. Her artistic research is leading in its field.
She develops repertoire and playing techniques for acoustic and electric violin and electronics in collaboration with composers such as; Henrik Hellstenius, Gerhard Stabler, Trond Lossius, Øyvind Brandtsegg, Alwynne Prithchard, Thorolf Thuesad among others.
Solo recitals include concerts at the Ultima Festival in Oslo, London Ear Festival (2014) Soundwaves Festival in Brighton, Brass Wind in Bergen, Stavanger Tou Scene, Nordic Music Days in Reykjavik, Illios in Harstad and Borealis Festival in Bergen.
Her first solo CD, Suspended Beginnings, was released in June 2012, and produced in collaboration with the composer and laptop musician Diemo Schwarz.
Virtuoso and playful familiarity with electronics
“A Festival Highlight” the Norwegian newspaper Morgenbladet wrote in a review after a concert with her at the Borealis Festival in Bergen 2012. The review emphasized Victoria’s performance of Jesper Nordin’s Calm Like a Bomb.
“Being a virtuoso of Johnson’s format, on her unusual instrument, is also about how to master traditional techniques to perfection, as well as it’s about having an equally playful familiarity with electronics and computer software for sound generation.”
Besides his performing career, she teaches violin at the Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo and holds workshops and presentations in the Nordic countries.
Victoria has been an active chamber musician in string duo Kyberia with the cellist Tanja Orning (denoted by Morgenbladet as “the hard-hitting as sensual duo”) with Ametri String Quartet. With these ensembles she’s had altogether two CD recordings nominated for the Norwegian Grammy Award.
The Music Researcher: An independent and original performer
Victoria Johnson defended her research project “Electric Violin in digital Space” at the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2021. The project was part of the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme for artistic development.
The programme is parallell to other research educations organised as academic PhD programmes. It was the end to a multi-year scholarships work which started in 2007. Her pioneering research and artistic development Electric Violin in Digital Space showed fully her many talents. The Commission which assessed the project wrote:
“Victoria Johnson emerges as an independent and original performer, showing a strong desire to explore and develop the sound of the instrument and to explore different musical material.
She demonstrates a compelling desire and ability to develop as an artist within new and contemporary musical expressions, and to develop interdisciplinary cooperation.”
The risky, non-frictionless
“The risky, non-frictionless, seems to be a driving force for Johnson” wrote Ballade.no in 2009:
“As a classically trained violinist, her feet are firmly positioned in the tradition as a classically trained violinist.”
Victoria Johnson studied Violin at Østlandets Music Conservatory in Oslo with Leif Jørgensen, at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Arts in Vienna Vienna with Franz Samohyl, and later with Detlef Hahn at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where she received the “Diploma with Honours”
Multitudes of concerts and interdisciplinary collaboration
Since the studies she has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras, and participated in international chamber music festivals. She has also been a team leader of the orchestra at The Norwegian Opera.
Since 1995, contemporary music has been the main focus of interdisciplinary projects, in cooperation with the composers, scientists, video artists and fashion designers.