Johnny peered through the curtains with a wink and smile and two thumbs up for his parents as he tucked his 1/16th size violin under his chin and stepped out onto the Myerhoff Concert stage in Baltimore, Maryland. He was four.
From an early age Johnny was determined to push his violin to the edge, and sometimes over it... Sometimes they both went over. “The violin isn't supposed to rock!”, “watch me” he'd say. Johnny didn't just hold the violin, it became a part of him; it was meant to sing, shred, and glisten across the stage.
Johnny's true passion for performing a variety of genres, coupled with his unique ability to push the violin far beyond what's normal has produced some extraordinary blessings in his life. If you are looking for a new and exciting musical experience Johnny Benson is your man.
Johnny is classically trained in the renowned Suzuki program, as well as conservatory theory. At twelve he became the youngest member of F.A.M.E; the prestigious and renowned Baltimore based String Chamber Orchestra. Under the coaching of violinists and pedagogues, Sue Taylor and Collette Wickert, he achieved Principal Chair, leading the second violin section in composition and interpretation under the baton of Lucy Rouse.
Under the tutorship of Anne Lane Vosough, Founder and President of the Baltimore String Orchestra Camp, Ltd., he attained principal Chair as well as Concert Master in his Junior High and High School orchestras. He received All-County and All-State recognition throughout his secondary education. During this period, Johnny also had the privilege of performing under the baton of conductors Dr. Christian Tiemeyer, Conductor of the Dallas Symphony, Lois Stout, Conductor of the Salt Lake City Chamber Orchestra, and Roman Palowski, Conductor of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra.
With F.A. M.E. Johnny performed throughout the state of Maryland at such venues as the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, the Meyerhoff, the Charlestown Chapel, the Merriweather Post Pavilion, and the Congressional Sub-Committee for the Performing Arts at the State Department in Washington D.C.
International exposure came when Johnny concretized abroad with F.A.M.E. during the summer of 2000. While studying at the Graz Universitat fur Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Austria, he had the opportunity to not only meet but study with such World renowned musicians as Francois Rabbath, contrabassist, Randy Sabien, jazz violinist, Ivan and Michaela Straus, father and daughter violinists, and Eduard Melkus, Baroque violinist. When not studying at the Universitat, he traveled throughout Austria and Germany representing the U.S.A. under the baton of Lucy Rouse, performing in the concert halls of Graz, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich and Oberzeiring. As a member of the International String Orchestra he had the privilege of performing under the baton of Dr. William L. Jones at Kasematten, Schlosberg, Austria.
In 2001 Johnny was the recipient of the Loch Raven High School Award for Outstanding Musicianship and received the Virginia Polytechnic and State University Music Scholarship. During college he performed with the Gettysburg Symphony under the baton of Ronald Gretz and shared a desk in the first violin section of the Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra with his mother, Diana Benson under the baton of Dr. Raymond Faracco. After graduation Johnny began to experiment with the skills he had acquired during his degree. Being a bit of a rebel, he didn't like the idea that some considered the violin only a classical, country or ethnic instrument; began breaking into the rock, metal, techno, and hip-hop.
An entertainer at heart, Johnny is comfortable playing a sweet classical serenade or a devastating rift. As long as the people are entertained and happy, he believes he has done his job.
Currently, Johnny has been working on his next album, composing soundtracks, and performing with several bands whose music varies from Celtic to Metal. His repertoire consists of performances with Random Blonde, The Clockwork Dolls, Stark Madness, Domino Falls, C.O.V.E. and Know Thyself. He is presently performing with The ShamRogues and Trifecta
From 1:25 - 3:30, Johnny Benson performs with The American Rogues at The Maryland Music Awards.