"...Rhythm and sound are inextricably connected, as is the abstract and the concrete - and the result is positive, uplifting, inspiring and weird in a nice way...maybe Aaron Krister Johnson is the John Lennon of microtonal music."
--tokafi.com on Aaron Krister Johnson's compositions
"...melody, chords, and texture are often the same thing in Johnson's work...challenging and creative."
-Keyboard Magazine, June 2004
"Aaron's playing is deftly dazzling, full of spirit and warmth. He creates a succinct linkage between the earthly notes of the piano and the spiritual notes which connect us all."
-Stuart Rosenberg, Chicago critic and musician
"...Special credit must be paid to Aaron Krister Johnson, who is credited with original music and sound design that enlivens this spectacular experience. Original spare jazzy fragments evoke the feel of the Modern Jazz Quartet...masterfully performed"
--Martha Wade Steketee, chicagocritic.com, reviewing 'Clash by Night' at The Artistic Home
"...incidental music from sound designer Aaron Krister Johnson is pretty dandy as well."
--Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune, reviewing 'Clash by Night'
"...And try NOT to bounce in your seat to the infectious rhythms of Aaron Krister Johnson's mazurka-driven incidental music."
-Windy City Times, reviewing 'Madwoman of Challot'
"...evocative original music and sound by Aaron Krister Johnson"
-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times, reviewing 'Peer Gynt' at The Artistic Home
Aaron Krister Johnson is a Chicago-based multi-keyboardist, composer and teacher. Ever eclectic and multi-faceted as a keyboard artist, Johnson's experience ranges from the Western classical keyboard tradition, to folk music, and to modern electro-acoustic free improvisation. The Chicago Sun-Times called his composition 'evocative', and his improvisations have been hailed by Keyboard Magazine as "challenging and creative". His work has appeared on National Public Radio, and has been lauded by Chicagocritic.com, the Chicago Tribune, the Windy City Times, and the online music journal Tokafi.com
Johnson is founder and artistic director of UnTwelve, a groundbreaking new concert series dedicated to exploring the current and historical frontiers of music written in alternative tunings. He has collaborated with the Fine Arts Chamber Players, The Artistic Home, Lyric Opera, Lira Ensemble, Chicago Children's Choir, Kiltartan Road Ensemble, Lakeside Shakespeare, and the International Music Foundation, among others. As a folk pianist, he has appeared at the Chicago Irish Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest, and the Old Town School of Folk music. His discography includes two discs with percussionist Andy Hasenpflug under the name Divide by Pi, part II of Deep Hearts Core with Kiltartan Road Ensemble, and the 2009 UnTwelve compilation disc. Johnson is the pianist, organist, and choir director at Temple Sholom of Chicago, the largest Reform Jewish congregation in Chicago, and home of a historic 4-manual Wurlitzer organ.
In recent years, he has worked in the area of composition of incidental music and sound design for theatre. His score for 'Peer Gynt' was nominated for a 2005 Joseph Jefferson award for outstanding original incidental music for a play. Other theatre music and sound design credits include 'Madwoman of Chaillot' and the Jeff-nominated 'Natural Affection' for the Artistic Home, and Lakeside Shakespeare of Michigan's productions of 'Twelfth Night' and 'Julius Ceasar'.
Johnson originally received his education at the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory division, the State University of New York at Purchase (BFA Magna Cum Laude) and Northwestern University (MFA Magna Cum Laude) for his graduate studies. He is also the proud husband of Lorna Johnson, and adoring father of Annika Katharine.