Barney Johnson | Printempo

For his Printempo recital, Barney Johnson has composed pieces inspired by the FEU and CiuP resident musicians who will perform in the concert. This overview of his music marks both the end of four years of intensive study in Paris and the end of his stay at the FEU.

“Technique sets us free.”  This is why I moved to France.  In 2013, I completed at the European-American Musical Alliance in Paris, focused on counterpoint, harmony, and musicianship.  It was there that I met my master teacher, Narcis Bonet, great disciple of the legendary Nadia Boulanger.

In 2017, I returned to Paris to study harmony with Narcis Bonet at the Schola Cantorum, until his death in January 2019.  I am also studying counterpoint, orchestration and piano.  What I love about a French conservatory education is its deep respect for tradition as well as its emphasis on understanding music from a technical, almost scientific level:  Harmony is a study of musical syntax – how to create musical sentences which become paragraphs, then chapters, and finally an entire musical piece.   Counterpoint is the study of how to get from Point A to Point B in the most elegant fashion possible..  And Orchestration is both the study of balance and equilibrium between groups, as well as a preoccupation with the following–how do we take our musical ideas for piano, and set them so convincingly for the orchestra that it sounds like they were meant for that medium?

After four years of intensive study, I am ready to share what I have learned.  My goal for this recital was to simulate  the spirit of Bach at Leipzig, in which for a period of time, Bach had to write 1 cantata per week (an enormous task!). I am collaborating with some musicians here in the FEU as well as other CiuP musicians that I discovered by posting about my recital.  Something I particularly enjoy doing is meeting musicians and writing specifically for their unique personalities, so in all of the pieces, the writing is partly inspired by my understanding of the people who are playing them.

After four years of intensive training in the French conservatory system, my music has become freer, more natural, and spontaneous, my writing for the instruments more precise and idiomatic. The ultimate gift of the French conservatory educational training is that it sets us free from our limitations, and allows us to becomes masters of our own destinies.

Practical information

COVID: Mask required, please use the hand sanitizer made available at the entrance. Please respect physical distancing.

Date : June 15, 7:30pm | Facebook Event
Entry: Visitors should arrive by the garden through the Grand Salon [access map].

Reservation required


Pour Lusi for Solo Piano
Lusi Xie, piano

Trio for 1 Flute and 2 Violins
Farah Doumit, flute
Gelila Enbaye, violin
Jael Romero Gonzalez, violin

Duet for Saxophone and Cello
Michael Chapa, saxophone
Alexa Ciciretti, cello

Le Chemin for Solo Piano
Daniel Eriksson, piano

Le Serpent qui danse
for Soprano, Piano, and Cello
Solange Adamson, soprano
Beatriz Guerrero, piano
Andrew Briggs, violoncelle

About the Artists

Barney Johnson is a 33-year old classical composer from New Jersey, USA. His first instruments were the tuba and cello, and he eventually studied  tuba at the Walnut Hill Conservatory, a performing arts high school near Boston, Massachusetts. There he also began formal composition lessons, and subsequently got his Bachelors in Music Composition at SUNY Purchase (2011) and Masters in Music Composition at UC Santa Barbara (2014). He moved to Paris, France in 2017 in order to study harmony with Narcis Bonet, master teacher and disciple of Nadia Boulanger.  He currently studies ecriture and piano at the Schola Cantorum and orchestration at L’Ecole Normale de Musique.

Lyric soprano Solange Adamson sings a variety of operatic roles in the US and Europe. A student of Vladimir Chernov and Olga Toporkova, she began studies this fall at École Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot, in the Cycle de perfectionnement. An avid performer of new music, she collaborated with composer Gabrielle Owens to create a song cycle based on the 13th century poetry of Beatriz de Dia which premiered in 2019. With Opera UCLA, she created the roles of Sor Andrea in Carla Lucero’s opera Juana, and the Queen in Nicki Sohn’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the 2017/18 season, she performed the roles of Indiana Elliott in Virgil Thompson’s The Mother of Us All, Dardano in Handel’s Amadigi, both with Opera UCLA, and the Abbess in Puccini’s Suor Angelica with the Center for Opera Studies in Italy.


We use cookies to give you the best experience.