After a couple of hapless years playing the piano and violin, Douglas Johnson switched to the double bass and went on to earn a bachelors’ degree in music performance from Northwestern University, studying with Jeff Bradetich. During his college years, Doug was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Institute and the Bach Aria Festival. Upon graduation, he became Associate Principal Bass with the Honolulu Symphony and, after one season, returned to Chicago where he continued performing and started composing and improvising. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the symphonies of Milwaukee and Elgin, as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicagom, Ars Viva, and the Chicago Composer Orchestra, and is active in contemporary chamber music, having recently performed with the C.U.B.E. Ensemble, Music of the Baroque, Fulcrum Point, Access Contemporary Music, the Contemporary Chamber Players, the Chicago Chamber Musicians and dal niente.
As a composer and improviser, he has written music for the River North Chicago Dance Company and the Dutch National Ballet Project, and a 15-minute soundtrack for a Quay Brothers silent film (not sponsored by said brothers) scored for violin, viola, clarinet, horn, piano and percussion. Doug also completed and, as the soloist, premiered the middle movement of the Concerto for Double Bass in D minor, which is 1/3 completed. He has written string arrangements for a number of recording projects, most recently for the singer Maddy Meyer.