Elissa Johnston


Recently cited by the New York Times for her “especially lovely” singing, Elissa Johnston enjoys diving into repertoire ranging from Bach, Handel and Mozart to Messiaen, Carter and Reich.

Elissa appears this season with the National Symphony of Costa Rica singing Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne, with Albany Symphony in Michael Daugherty’s To the New World, with Long Beach Symphony in Brahms Requiem, with the Riverside Philharmonic in Berlioz Les Nuits d’éte, and in Peter Sellars’ touring production of Music to Accompany a Departure, which opened the 2023 Salzburg Festival. Elissa will also sing in American Ballet Theater’s North American premiere of Woolf Works, music by Max Richter, this Spring at Segerstrom Hall. Recent performances include the world premiere and recording of James MacMillan’s Fiat Lux with Pacific Symphony, Die Staat by Louis Andriessen, conducted by John Adams with the L.A. Philharmonic, Poulenc Gloria at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, arias by Handel and Scarlatti with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and performances with Street Symphony in Bach’s Wedding Cantata No. 202. Elissa has frequently appeared as soloist with the Los Angeles Master Chorale, in Handel’s Dixit Dominus, the west coast premiere of Reena Esmail’s This Love Between Us, and in Stravinsky’s Les Noces. As a member of the ensemble, she also appeared in Peter Sellars production of Di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro under Grant Gershon, in performances worldwide, including at the Salzburg Festival, the Ravinia Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Auckland Arts Festival. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Pacific Symphony under Carl St. Clair, singing the role of Sarada Devi in Philip Glass’ The Passion of Ramakrishna, as part of Carnegie’s yearlong celebration of Philip Glass’ 80th birthday.

Elissa is especially fond of singing chamber music and in recital, and has appeared numerous times with Le Salon de Musique, Pittance Chamber Music, Salastina, Jacaranda Music, Sunset Chamber Music, Piano Spheres and Southwest Chamber Music. She sang in the quartet version of David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion, sharing a program with Eighth Blackbird at the Ravinia Festival, and has performed Messiaen’s epic song cycle HARAWI numerous times with pianist Vicki Ray.

Elissa can be seen in the Los Angeles Philharmonic Soundstage live capture recording of John Adams’ Grand Pianola Music, under Gustavo Dudamel at the Hollywood Bowl, and can be heard in recordings of Chinary Ung’s

AURA on Presto Classical, and SPIRAL XII on Bridge Records, James Newton’s Mass and In a Moment, in the Twinkling of an Eye in James Newton: Sacred Works on New World Records, Danny Elfman’s Serenada Schizophrana on Sony BMG Masterworks, Jorge Liderman’s Song of Songs on Bridge Records, and on numerous film soundtracks.

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