Matthew Johnson, violin

Matthew Johnson, violin

Matthew Johnson 120x153He came to California with a violin, 2 bags, and nowhere to live. He hasn’t regretted it for a moment.

Matthew was born in the small town of Penmbroke, New Hampshire. When he was three he was watching Sesame Street and saw Itzhak Perlman playing violin. “I immediately told my mother I wanted to play too,” he says. It took a couple of years, but he got a violin when he was five and started playing with the Suzuki method. His elementary school was too small to have an orchestra, but he continued with private lessons through to high school.

With a new violin teacher, Matthew played violin in the school band (yes, band, because there was still no orchestra). However, he also played in the Northeast Youth Symphony Orchestra and, when he was a senior in high school, played with the New Hampshire Philharmonic as a student. “That was a great experience.”

Matthew went on to Northeastern University in Boston, playing in the university orchestra for six while completing first a Bachelors and then a Masters in Architecture. He worked as an architect in Boston for a couple of years, then moved back to New Hampshire and worked there for awhile, while playing in a community orchestra.

Then came the call. He had applied for a job in San Francisco but hadn’t heard anything for many months and assumed they didn’t need him. But they did. And off he flew to the Bay Area to join Axis Architecture and Design in San Francisco. He did find a place to live, in Alameda, where he now shares digs with his dog Arya.

Matthew’s move to the Bay Area led to an online search for a community orchestra to play in. He found us. “I went to a concert and I liked it, and met with Eric (our conductor).” He started playing with us in February 2012. “I love California. There’s no snow! I’m having a good time here and I think I’ll stay.” We think we’re glad you will!

~Joyce Vollmer

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