Player Spotlight ~ William Johnston ~ Violist

Opus 565, 16 5/8" viola, 2005

“In 2006, I had been looking for a new viola for over three years and had nearly given up hope that I would ever find an instrument I wanted to buy, when a colleague who had spent the summer at Marlboro suggested that I give Doug a call. When Doug sent me this viola, I knew my search was over. My instrument has a nearly ideal blend of the warmth and richness everyone wants in the viola sound, with enough edge to be heard in an ensemble.”

William Johnston

William Johnston leads a varied career as a violist and educator based in Atlanta. Praised for his "richly lyrical tone and expressive playing" (, he has appeared throughout the country in solo and chamber music performances, including recent appearances with the ensembles Fringe Atlanta and Sonic Generator. William is in demand as an orchestral musician, serving as principal violist of The Atlanta Opera and performing with numerous orchestras in the southeast. He has performed at many summer festivals, including Aspen, Kent/Blossom, and Sarasota, and is currently principal violist of the Utah Festival Opera.

William is equally committed to music education. He is a registered Suzuki teacher, and completed long-term teacher training in books 1-4 with Kimberly Meier-Sims at the Cleveland Institute of Music. William has presented masterclasses at colleges and universities, including Florida Southern College, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and Valdosta State University. He currently maintains a private studio of children and adults, and is an active clinician in the Atlanta area.

William is a native of Sarasota, Florida and graduated from Pine View School in Osprey. Beginning music lessons with the piano at age four, he later studied the viola with Dorothy Stahler, Alison Heydt, Victoria Chiang, James Dunham, and Robert Vernon. He is a graduate of the Peabody Institute and Rice University, and is the first violist to receive the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Visit William online at



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