Primary Instrument: Piano
Active on the Canadian music scene for over fifteen years and considered one of this country’s finest musicians, Johnston has performed and recorded with many of the world’s best, including John Abercrombie, Don Alias, Shirley Eikhard, Kenny Wheeler, Dave Liebman, Ron Hynes, Archie Shepp, Sonny Greenwich and Slide Hampton. His music has been described by critics as “outstanding in every way”, “Canadian jazz at it's best”, “unparalleled for risk or drama”, and in 1998 Jazz Times Magazine proclaimed “this is music that while at the contemporary cutting edge is also immensely and immediately satisfying”. He has performed extensively throughout North America and Europe including the Antibes Jazz Festival in France, the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy and as a regular at the Montreal International Jazz Festival.
The list of Canadian performer's Johnston has played with, reads like a who's who of modern Canadian Jazz: Bernard Primeau Ensemble, Alain Caron, Paul Brochu, Dave Young, Charlie Biddle, Karen Young, Mike Murley, Kevin Turcotte, Denny Christianson, Lorrainne Desmarais (duo piano), Michel Donato, Ron Seguin, Remi Bolduc, Roy Patterson, Claude Ranger, Theresa Tova, Ranee Lee, Richard Ring, Jane Bunnett, Jeri Brown, Kevin Dean, Ralph Bowen, Keith Blackley, Andre White, Phil Dwyer, Christine Jensen, Joel Miller, Kirk MacDonald, Paul Horn, Michel Lambert, Andre Leroux, Nancy Martinez, Pete Magadini, Guy Nadon, John Nugent, Charles Papasoff, Barry Romberg, Dany Roy, Victoria Doyen, Jennifer Gasoi, Diane Nalini, Sharada Banmen, Dawn Thomson, Keiran Overs, Jim Vivian, Mike Gauthier, Ron Dilauro, Jean Pierre Zanella, Jim Hillman, Camil Belisle, Muhammad Abdul Al-Khabyyr, Michel Gauthier, Normand Gilbault, Guy and Yves Boisvert and many others.
The recipient of numerous awards from the Canada Council, FACTOR, Heritage Canada and The Quebec Arts Council, Johnston in 1984 received the prestigious R. Murray Shafer award for composition. He has twice been nominated for both the Junos and the East Coast Music Awards. Johnston honed his craft in New York City under the tutelage of renowned composer and pianist Richard Beirach from 1984 - 1990.
Currently based out of Montreal, Canada, Johnston is on faculty at McGill University's Schulich School of Music and frequently plays at Montreal's premier jazz club, Upstairs.