Jazz Pianist Richard D. Johnson Joins Peabody Conservatory Faculty


The Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University welcomes pianist Richard D. Johnson to its jazz studies faculty beginning in the 2019-20 academic year.

A graduate of Berklee, the Boston Conservatory and the New England Conservatory’s Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance, Richard D. Johnson was first introduced to the piano at the age of five by his father, the longtime organist of Baltimore’s Faith Baptist Church.

Today, Johnson is a seasoned performer, composer and arranger, who appeared with such jazz icons as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Arturo Sandoval. He was a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra from 2000 to 2003 and has also played as part of the Russell Malone Quartet, Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet, and the Bobby Watson Quartet.

As a Musical Ambassador under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, he shared the gift of jazz in more than 76 countries in Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East. He has also served as the acting Jazz Ambassador at the Jazz at Lincoln Center venue in Doha, Qatar; and as musical director for Atlanta Spirit, LLC, where he created a live instrumental five-member band for the National Basketball Association and performed at all 46 home games in the 2005 season. Johnson currently serves as the piano instructor for the Ravinia Jazz Program in Chicago. His Reach Afar program is dedicated to teaching young people about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Johnson joins a roster of Peabody jazz studies faculty artists headed by Sean Jones, Richard and Elizabeth Case Chair in Jazz Studies.

Under the Conservatory’s new Breakthrough Curriculum— designed to help students develop skills in performance excellence, career development, and citizen artistry to meet the demands of today’s ever-changing musical landscape— jazz studies is becoming increasingly integrated with other programs across the Conservatory and expanding its connections to communities across the region.