violinist & arranger
After majoring in performance and composition at Sheffield University, Mary Johnston gained a Post Graduate Diploma in Orchestral Studies in London training with renowned conductors including Sir Simon Rattle, Lorin Maazel, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Elliot Gardner, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Vernon Handley, Jukka-Pekka Saraste, Vilém Tauský and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. She studied violin with Peter Cropper from the Lindsay String Quartet and Rosemary Furniss from the Nash Ensemble, St. Martin in the Fields and assistant teacher to Ivan Galamian.
After an orchestral career with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for many years, four years in the concert music management team at ABC Southbank, Mary dedicated her energies to the education of young musicians. In 1997 as Director of Chamber Music at The Mac.Robertson Girls High School then from 2004 appointed Head of Strings at Melbourne Girls Grammar School.
As an orchestral educator she has been violin tutor for the Melbourne and Percy Grainger Youth Orchestras, conductor of the Melbourne Youth Chamber Strings at Melbourne Youth Music, Associate Concertmaster of the Tasmanian Discovery Orchestra at the University of Tasmania and violin mentor for the Monash University Academy Orchestra.
Mary has been Concertmaster of the Camberwell Camerata Orchestra for 20 years and recently formed the duo MV2 with harpist Vanessa McKeand.
In December 2017 Mary retired from full time teaching but continues as a private teacher and regular freelance violinist with various Melbourne ensembles. This year she has performed with the Stonnington Symphony Orchestra, Citi Opera, Melbourne Bach Choir, The Art of Sound Orchestra, chamber music with pianist Hoang Pham and continues her involvement with the Monash Academy Orchestra projects.