Deborah Johnson

Deborah Johnson (b.1950) was brought up in Birmingham, UK. Her parents were both actors and Deborah was the eldest of four daughters. She began composing at an early age before going on to learn the piano and to study musical theory. Her first commission was to provide an orchestral prelude and songs for her school’s jubilee production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Equally enthusiastic about literature and music she eventually decided upon English Literature as her professional path. She studied at the Universities of Cambridge and Florence, specialising in the Renaissance period and later taking up a permanent appointment as Lecturer In English at the University of Bristol. In the meantime her musical experience came to include harp teaching and performance.

Upon retirement Deborah enrolled as a student at the Open College of the Arts. She completed OCA’s three courses in composition and a fourth course in Orchestration (all now being offered as part of the OCA Music degree). For her large-scale compositional project (A Mutability Cantata) she chose to set some of the last stanzas of Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, the work that had been the subject of her Ph.D. some forty years earlier.

As a composer Deborah relishes shared projects and she collaborated with her fellow OCA student Anna Goodchild to provide a video installation soundtrack for Anna’s OCA photography degree exhibition, ‘One Life: transcending prison walls’ on UK prisons and prisoner identity (1-12 July, 2019, Devonport Guildhall, Plymouth).
Deborah now lives near Chepstow in the Welsh countryside where she continues to enjoy composing.

Beeswing Suite
Singing Bowl