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Chris Johnson, Bass

Christopher “bassplayaplaya” Johnson started his musical journey at The New England Conservatory with Project S.T.E.P.  After seeing the Boston Bassketeers at a Project STEP FOCUS presentation, he was determined to learn the bass. Helen Stevenson was his first teacher from second grade until he graduated from Belmont High School. As a student, he completed his early dreams of joining the Boston Bassketeers and served as one of the principals of Massachusetts’ North East Junior, Senior District, and All State Orchestras. In his earlier years he had the opportunity to perform at Jordan Hall for From the Top, at The Apollo, and attended the International Society of Bassists Conference in 1997. He traveled to Italy, Cuba, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Brazil with New England Conservatory youth orchestras. He pursued his Bachelor of Music degree with Don Palma at New England Conservatory.


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After Boston, Chris continued on to graduate studies at Manhattan School of Music with Tim Cobb. He holds positions with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Reading Symphony, and the won the International Society of Bassist Excerpt competition in 2013. After the competition he was invited to play with the touring chamber orchestra, Sphinx Virtuosi. Chris plays in a wide variety of ensembles including Rootstock Republic/Dear Nina, JP Jofre’s Tango Quintet, Brooklyn’s Pitch Blak Brass Band, BlackRock Philharmonic, The Recollective Orchestra, The New York City Ballet, and studio sessions for movies, commercials, and albums, as well as many other engagements. Recently, Chris recorded a Nina Simone Tribute album with Rootstock Republic which will be released in 2022. He can be heard on Han Zimmer’s score of the Lion King (2019) and on the score of “Judah and the Black Messiah” (2021).

Chris lives in Brooklyn with his cat, Strauss.

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