Dr. Jeremy Johnston is an active and versatile performer and educator of percussion. Performing numerous styles of music in several types of ensembles, Dr. Johnston has been heard with the Minnesota Orchestra, Southwest Minnesota Orchestra, Mankato Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, and the St. Andrew’s Orchestra. In 2013, he performed Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring with the Joffrey Ballet and served as the principal percussionist in the 2015 Minnesota Beethoven Festival Chorale.
As a soloist, Dr. Johnston has performed several programs featuring music from Bach transcriptions for marimba to the works of Iannis Xenakis. He was the concerto soloist with the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Concert Band performing Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba during his senior year of undergraduate studies. He has been featured as the marimba soloist with the University of Minnesota Percussion Ensemble performing Nebojša Jovan Živković’s Uneven Souls and Nathan Daughtrey’s Halcyon Days.
A proponent of new music, Dr. Johnston has been a part of several commission processes with composers including Katherine Bergman, Joey Crane, Jason Cress, Nathan Daughtrey, Danielle Fisher, Scott Miller, Ted Moore, Daniel Nass, and Patrick M. O'Shea. In addition to his commissioned works, he has premiered works by Kimberly Archer, Marc Bernstein, Carlos Franzetti, Roy Magnuson, David Maslanka, Mark Nowakowski, Narong Prangcharoen, Dwayne Rice, Carl Schimmel, James Stephenson, Dana Wilson, and Judith Lang Zaimont.
Dr. Johnston enjoys running the Marim-bar Drum and Percussion Studio. This studio is comprised of students of all ages and abilities studying various aspects of drums and percussion. Besides teaching privately, Dr. Johnston has enjoyed working with several ensembles within the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies (GTCYS) program. From 2012-2014, he met weekly with the “Symphony Series” percussionists of GTCYS where he coached the top percussionists in the organization in orchestral repertoire and directed the percussion ensemble. Dr. Johnston has also worked with students in several Middle and High schools.
In addition to his passions for performing and teaching percussion, Dr. Johnston has a keen fascination with the mechanics of his instruments. He has been active tuning and repairing keyboard instruments, and tunes bars for the marimba manufacturing company Adventure Percussion. For his doctoral research project, Dr. Johnston quantifiably compared various tone woods for their usability in concert marimbas. This research project was funded in part by a University of Minnesota Graduate Travel and Research grant.
Dr. Johnston earned his B.A. in Percussion Performance from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, his M.M. in Percussion Performance from Illinois State University, and his D.M.A. in Percussion Performance from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. His percussion instructors have included Jim Knutson, Rich MacDonald, Tom Marko, Ben Stiers, David Collier, and Fernando Meza. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Music Fraternity of America. He currently lives in Saint Paul, MN with his wife, Samantha, and two cats, Carmina and Scheherazade.