Hailed by Musical America for “her voice pure and ethereal, her expression embracing and heartfelt,” Elissa Johnston has appeared in a wide range of repertoire. Her orchestral engagements include appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Oregon Bach Festival, San Francisco Contemporary Players, and the Atlanta, Colorado, Fort Worth and Pasadena symphonies. Johnston’s performances last season included Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1916, Ives songs and David Lang’s Little Matchgirl Passion with Jacaranda Music; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio and Handel’s Messiah with the Telemann Chamber Orchestra in Tokyo and Osaka; the American premiere of Him Sophy’s The Fall of Angkor with Southwest Chamber Music; Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock and Britten’s The Poet’s Echo with Dilijan Music; Schumann songs with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; and Haydn’s Creation with The Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Recent highlights include Bach’s B Minor Mass with Helmuth Rilling at the USC Thornton School of Music’s 125th Anniversary celebration, Messiaen’s Harawi with pianist Vicki Ray with Jacaranda and Piano Spheres, LACO Baroque Conversations concerts led by Monica Huggett, music of Couperín with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Chamber Music Society led by Thomas Adès and Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem with the Los Angeles Master Chorale. Other recent appearances include Handel’s Radamisto with Musica Angelica, Berg’s Lyric Suite with the Denali String Quartet and the acclaimed world premiere of SPIRAL XII by Chinary Ung with the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Walt Disney Concert Hall. She premiered Aura by Ung with the Grammy®-award-winning Southwest Chamber Music, subsequently recorded it with that ensemble and toured with them in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Johnston has performed numerous times with the LA Philharmonic’s New Music Group, both in Los Angeles and at the Ojai Festival, with conductors Tan Dun, David Zinman, Daniel Harding and Steven Stucky. She made her Lincoln Center debut singing Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes with the New York City Ballet and was subsequently invited back to premiere Morgen!, a set of ten orchestral songs by Richard Strauss choreographed by Peter Martins. Johnston also appeared in the New York Philharmonic’s Copland Festival and Lincoln Center’s Stravinsky Festival. She has appeared in recital at the Aldeburgh Festival in England and at the Aspen Festival’s Winter Music Series with composer Ricky Ian Gordon. Johnston can be heard on dozens of film soundtracks. She is the featured vocal soloist in Serenata Schizophrana by Danny Elfman, which was released on the Sony Classical label and featured on the IMAX release Deep Sea 3D.