Mr. Johnston is a native of the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area where he has been a prominent figure in the DC-area music scene for over thirty years. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Indiana University, and a Master of Arts degree in Conducting from George Mason University. As a composer, he is author of numerous choral, orchestral, and jazz ensemble works, many of which received premiere performances in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area.
As Instructor of Music and Computer Technology, Mr. Johnston designed the Fairfax Academy’s music technology curriculum, and for the past twenty years, has been a pioneer in developing music technology programs nationwide. In 2005, he received national recognition for his work in music education as a recipient of the Claes Nobel Distinguished Educator Award. In 2006, he was a recipient of the Wolftrap Foundation Scholarship Award, and, as a result, designed and produced a project in which eight young composers created and premiered a new multi-movement work entitled “Suite for Electric Guitar and Orchestra.” In 2008, he was the recipient of the LFI 2008 Virginia Leadership in Education Award, and was honored at a ceremony attended by approximately 400 business and community leaders for his innovative work in music education.
Recently, Mr. Johnston was the recipient of the 2019 “Distinguished Educator” Award from Full Sail University. A three time Grammy “Music Educator of the Year” nominee, he has been an advocate for performances of works by young composers and has conducted many of these during his tenure as Music Director with the NVCC-Annandale Symphony Orchestra. In addition to his work at the Academy, he is currently on the faculty of Northern Virginia Community College, where he has served for twenty-five years as conductor for NVCC-Annandale Symphony Orchestra.