Concertmaster Staff Sergeant Karen Johnson joined “The President’s Own” Marine Chamber Orchestra in March 2011 and was appointed Concertmaster in October 2015. Staff Sgt. Johnson began her musical training at age 4. After graduating in 1996 from Highland High School, she earned a bachelor of arts from The Juilliard School in New York in 2000 and a master’s degree in music from the University of Maryland in College Park in 2002. Her notable instructors include Dr. William Magers of Arizona State University, Joel Smirnoff of the Juilliard String Quartet, and William Preucil, concertmaster of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Prior to joining “The President’s Own,” Staff Sgt. Johnson served as concertmaster of the Richmond Symphony and guest concertmaster of the Phoenix Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and the Oregon Symphony in Portland. In addition, she has worked with a variety of renowned conductors and musicians, such as James DePriest, Sergiu Commissiona, Yuri Temirkanov, Victor Yampolsky, Gerard Schwarz, and Joseph Silverstein.