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© Louis Valentine Johnson 2019

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PERFORMANCES

San Francisco State University

Seattle Space Needle Concerts

Idaho State University Program Board

Old First Center for the Arts — San Francisco

Boise State University

Village Early Music Society

University of San Francisco Concerts

Tahoe Historical Society

California Cultural Center — San Francisco

Hospice of the Foothills

Sierra Musical Arts Association

Music in the Mountains

Nevada County Historical Society

Nevada County Artist’s Guild

California Litman Series

South Lake Tahoe Community College

Twin Cities Concert Association

Classical Guitar Society of Portland

San Francisco Classical Guitar Society

Julia Davis Gallery Concerts — Boise

San Luis, Argentina

Guitar Extravaganza Concerts

Soroptomist International

City College of San Francisco

Tahoe Preservation Society

St. Joseph’s Cultural Center Concerts

KVMR – FM Featured Artist Series

Humboldt State University Concert Series

Borders, Books & Music Artists Series

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Old Town Eureka Concert Series

Quito — Ecuador — Exchange Series

Evergreen College — Olympia, WA

Sons of Norway — San Diego — Minneapolis

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Santiago, Chile

InConcert Sierra 

Sacramento State University

Banff School of Fine Arts — Canada

Orchestre Panache — Chamber Orchestra

Sacramento Guitar Society

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Nevada County Composer's Cooperative

Bach's Lunch Concert Series

Sierra Nevada Guitar Festival

Guitar Foundation of America San Francisco

Manitou Springs Colorado

Chamber Music Festival

Folsom Prison

PRESS/REVIEWS

EDUCATION

LVJ was the first guitarist to graduate from the Idaho State University School of Fine Arts Music Department. He later became a faculty member and founded the study of Classical Guitar as a standard curriculum at the University in Pocatello, Idaho.

Blackfoot High School, Blackfoot, Idaho.

Idaho State University, Bachelor of Arts Journalism.

Idaho State University, Bachelor of Music Guitar Performance.

San Francisco State University, Master of Arts Guitar Performance, Honors Graduate.

In the following years, while continuing in music, LVJ founded a company and began a career as an Insurance Executive for over 20 years. This business activity earned him the title from fellow musicians as “The Charles Ives of the Guitar” while composing, concertizing, and continually slaying dragons to feed to the hungry bulldog that eats money, creates bills and raises financial overhead for all of us every month.....

 

A Vietnam Veteran of the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division, LVJ served in the 502nd  Infantry (Rifleman) and the 321st Artillery Battalion, 105 mm Howitzers receiving an Honorable Discharge.

 

LVJ and Conductor Kent Nagano were honored together by San Francisco State University as “Distinguished Alumni.”

                                            

MASTER CLASS STUDIES

Narciso Yepes – San Francisco State University.

Christopher Parkening – The Sun Valley, Idaho Center for the Arts.

Able Carlevaro – San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Julian Bream – San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Alirio Diaz – The Banff School of Fine Arts, Alberta, Canada.

 

"And indeed it is a multi-layered work that runs a gamut of emotions and musical textures.  Johnson has an unerring feel for   

melody, and he manages to connect the different musical threads he creates quite naturally. The influence of Spanish and Latin American composers comes through in many places, but there are also American folk strains evident and even nods to the Baroque. The middle movement of the Peace Concerto, “Song of Peace,” is particularly affecting. Johnson’s tremendously detailed notes about the Concerto certainly add to emotional heft of the piece, but I think that even if you didn’t know what inspired the work, it would probably move you. It’s quite a journey.

                                                                        ~Blair Jackson, Classical Guitar Magazine, Richmond, California

 

 

"… rarely recorded works coupled with Louis Valentine Johnson’s great playing …” 

                                                                        ~ Carlos R. Alicea, BMC Records, New York City

 

 

“He succeeds beautifully. Johnson is a fine technician, articulating notes with clarity and warmth. His playing is dignified without seeming staid.. subtly passionate…this recording’s quiet delicate beauty is its own reward.” 

                                                                        ~ Paul Harrar, The Union, Grass Valley, California

 

“I have listened to Louis Valentine’s Guitarra Classica I Album and it is very good! I keep this CD beside my stereo at home.” 

William Glackin, Classical Music Critic,          ~ The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, California

 

 

“This remarkable collection of mostly 16th Century Spanish Guitar music is performed with astonishing grace and restraint….Johnson’s playing is superb – delightfully clear and tasteful.......” 

                                                                         ~ Richard Dunk, KVMR — FM Program Guide, Sacramento, California

"Johnson is a skilled and sensitive interpreter, not only of pieces by venerable masters, but also those by contemporary composers such as Jose Luis Merlin and Mark A. Radice, a beautiful album.”

                                                                         –Richard Middleton, Victory Review, Seattle, WA 

 

 

Louis Valentine Johnson is an accomplished and versatile solo guitarist with an established reputation for concerto and concert performances of the highest calibre.”

                                                                          ~Carlos de la Fuente, Mexico City

“These two master musicians, Jose Luis Merlin and Louis Valentine Johnson, turn their talent and inspiration to composing, arranging, and exalting their listeners with the glory that is classical guitar. The two of them present a palette of exquisite musical colors to create endless galleries of incredible mind pictures. Listen, oh, listen, and let your heart range wide!”

                                                                           –Sue Littleton; Buenos Aires, Argentina 

“The next day, after the master class, at our guitar society meeting, who was to walk in but Louis Johnson and Jose Merlin. Louis and Jose played a duet together. These two great masters gave us a treat we will not soon forget. Many thanks to Jose and Louis for playing so beautifully for us.”

                                                                           –Arnie Gamble; Sacramento Guitar Society 

“Johnson is at his best bringing out moods, expressions, and subtle tones. While most guitarists play Bach like well-tempered metronomes, Johnson can transcend geometry to a warm, fluid sensitivity.”

                                                                          –Joan La Liberte; Idaho State Journal 

“Louis Valentine Johnson is a polished artist. He is creative in performances and continues to bring new works to the concert stage. It has always been a pleasure collaborating on our orchestral performances with Lou.”

                                                                           –Maestro Ken Hardin; conductor, Orchestra Panache, Grass Valley, California

 

"For “The Question,” Johnson recreates music his son played, combining them to conjure images of a father and deceased son playing ghostly duets.  Does a classical guitar have too soft a voice to capture the despair a grieving parent feels for a lost child? Johnson’s impassioned playing proves a classical-styled guitar can evoke emotions when played with precision and fury. Johnson writes concerning his intentions: “Execution is one thing, but composing, interpretation, performance and recording of specific life-event emotions are another.  “Listeners’ perceptions are vast variables … so, effective composing conveys sentiments of beauty and pain to memorialize a moment in time.”

                                                                          ~ Michael Corrigan MA. The Idaho State Journal. January 5, 2018

 

 

 

CLASSICAL GUITAR MAGAZINE - DECEMBER 14, 2017

Album Releases:

A DEEPLY MOVING WORK

by Louis Valentine Johnson

 

Twenty-One Years
Louis Valentine Johnson
Dos Almas

People respond to personal tragedy in a million different ways. For the prolific American guitarist and composer Louis Valentine Johnson, the death of his son Alexander at the age of 21 several years ago led to Johnson  memorializing his beloved child in music: the three-movement, nearly 27-minute Peace Concerto that dominates this CD release (as well as the short Prelude, “Twenty-One Years,” that kicks off the disc). As Johnson writes in the poignant liner notes, “The Peace Concerto embraces memories as Alex grew from from a baby to a little boy to a young man who then had his own son. These compositions encompass as much as music can. the opus includes our love, his struggles, his life Valiantly Running With Fire, playing The Cape, The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends, Greensleeves, and Tárrega on guitar by the fireplace, plus much more.”

And indeed it is multi-layered work that runs a gamut of emotions and musical textures. Johnson has an unerring feel for melody, and he manages to connect the different musical threads he creates quite naturally. The influence of Spanish and Latin American composers comes through in many places, but there are also American folk strains evident and even nods to the Baroque. The middle movement of the Peace Concerto, “Song of Peace,” is particularly affecting. Johnson’s tremendously detailed notes about the Concerto certainly add to emotional heft of the piece, but I think that even if you didn’t know what inspired the work, it would probably move you. It’s quite a journey.

 

The concluding Tres Pensamientos Latinos makes for a pleasing conclusion to the disc; all three “thoughts” are infused with rich Spanish/Latin flavors, from soulful balladry to an exciting improv on classic Spanish tropes.

Prelude: Twenty-One Years; The Peace Concerto: Portraits, Song of Peace, The Question; Tres Pensamientos Latinos: Snowfall in El Escorial, Lullaby of Love, Malagueña California!

The album can be previewed and purchased through CDBaby, and heard in its entirety, piecemeal, on YouTube.

~ Blair Jackson, Editor in Chief, Classical Guitar Magazine

THE IDAHO STATE JOURNAL - January 5, 2018

Classical blues for a lost son

Louis Valentine Johnson, an Idaho native, composer and founder of the Idaho State University guitar program, has released a CD of guitar music as a tribute to his late son, Alex Johnson, who died at 21 of an accidental opioid overdose. Alex was prescribed pain killers following a car accident. Alex left behind a son. Alex also played folk, blues and classical music. Louis Valentine Johnson’s album is called Twenty-One Years.

Since receiving his Masters of Music from San Francisco State, Johnson has developed formidable skill as a classical guitarist. Blair Jackson, editor of Classical Guitar Magazine, reviewed Johnson’s CD: “Johnson has an unerring feel for melody, and he manages to connect the different musical threads he creates quite naturally.” There are many different “musical threads” in Twenty-One Years.

The section for Alex includes a “Prelude,” followed by “The Peace Concerto,” a three-movement opus containing: “Portraits,” “Song of Peace” and “The Question.” The CD continues with “Tres Pensamientos Latinos,” three original compositions including a new creative interpretation titled, “Malagueña California!”

For “The Question,” Johnson recreates music his son played, combining them to conjure images of a father and deceased son playing ghostly duets. The listener hears a grieving father playing music for the spirit of his son. In eloquent liner notes, Johnson writes, “Here we visit music Alex played on guitar. These works are included so a little boy will know his father’s voice and sound.” It is a strong musical memory piece that is particularly affecting; there is no answer to “The Question.”

In music, grief is often expressed with a strong human voice like Eric Clapton’s poignant, “Tears in Heaven,” written for his dead son. Does a classical guitar have too soft a voice to capture the despair a grieving parent feels for a lost child? Johnson’s impassioned playing proves a classical-styled guitar can evoke emotions when played with precision and fury. Johnson writes concerning his intentions: “Execution is one thing, but composing, interpretation, performance and recording of specific life-event emotions are another.

“Listeners’ perceptions are vast variables … so, effective composing conveys sentiments of beauty and pain to memorialize a moment in time.”

Louis Valentine Johnson has succeeded in musically conveying these heartbreaking sentiments of beauty and pain to memorialize his late son, but grief is still a lingering force. Johnson writes: “I am just now coming to some kind of terms with this after composing, learning and recording the music. … It is a somewhat softer—only slightly softer—pain every day, compared to what it has been for the last seven years or so.”

Twenty-One Years, which includes the “Peace Concerto” and "Three Latin Thoughts," is available as an entire CD or as individual tracks to download on CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon and 200 other online sources/distributors around the world. Louis V. Johnson can be reached at Dos Almas Studios in Grass Valley, California.

~ Michael Corrigan MA. The Idaho State Journal. January 5, 2018

Michael Corrigan graduated from San Francisco State with an MA in English and creative writing. He is a retired instructor of English and speech communications from Idaho State University. He has written several articles for various outlets, including Atticus Literary magazine online.

TWENTY ONE YEARS - October 5, 2017

by: Louis Valentine Johnson

Oasis Entertainment Blog

Twenty-One Years is the latest album by the innovative acoustic guitarist Louis Valentine Johnson released in 2017. 

I found this album totally relaxing and enjoyed this CD from start to finish.  My favorite tracks were Portraits, The Question, and Malaguena California!. 

With me living with chronic pain, this is the perfect CD for me because music like this relaxes me and in turn lowers my pain level.  If you want a CD to help you relax, whether at home or on the road, you need to check out this CD.  This album was well written, performed, and recorded. You can purchase this CD at CD Baby and other places where CD’s and digital downloads are sold.

~ Robert Levoy, US Navy Veteran, Oasis Entertainment Reviews.