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DMA to Feature Lutenist Jacob Johnson
Dallas Museum of Art

Local classical musician Jacob Johnson will perform two concerts of lute music at the Dallas Museum of Art “Late Nights” program. The concerts will take place at 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the 20th in the European Galleries on Level 2. 

Mr. Johnson is a young, classically trained multi-instrumentalist with over 25 years of performance experience in a wide variety of disciplines. He is the face of a new wave of talented young performers taking an interest in the Historically Informed Performance (HIP) movement. The performances are planned in conjunction with the DMA’s “Art and Nature in the Middle Ages” exhibit and the January Late Night event. Johnson will perform the solo lute music of English renaissance composer John Dowland on the original instrument. Admission is free for DMA Members and children 11 and under. Tickets are $15 for general admission, or $10 for students with ID. Tickets can be purchased online at www.dma.org/programs/late-nights

Johnson explained: "The lute’s one of the guitar’s ancestors, and tuned similarly... but with 15 strings." When asked how one goes about acquiring such a rare instrument, Johnson shook his head and smiled: “Can’t find one at the store? Mine was built for me by a fantastic luthier in San Francisco named Mel Wong, but the Lute Society of America (LSA) has a great rental program if you’re interested and would like to try it out!” Mr. Johnson first took up the lute in 2014 in order to take advantage of a masterclass at UT Dallas by famed lutenist and early music specialist Hopkinson Smith ("Hoppy"). 

“I'd been toying with the idea for a while, but when I heard Hoppy would be in town, it was the last push I needed. I found a cheap lute on ebay for $500, but I still only had 6 weeks to learn how to play it before my masterclass. Not only would I have to play in front of one of my heroes, but an audience as well," he laughed. After several months and many performances later, Johnson decided to upgrade his instrument. He contacted Mel Wong to commission a handcrafted instrument for himself, an 8-course lute based on instruments built in Padua, Italy in 1599, which was received with much anticipation in February of 2016. 

Johnson spent the rest of 2016 studying and performing the lute songs and solo music of John Dowland, and attended the LSA’s biennial festival in Cleveland where he had the opportunity to work one-on-one with Grammy Award Winning Lutenist Paul O’Dette, as well as other greats of early music. “It was a wonderful experience to meet so many incredible people and musicians!” Since then he has been active performing for private events, teaching private music lessons, and offering recitals around the DFW metroplex.

For more information on the DMA’s Late Night programs, visit www.dma.org/programs/late-nights To hear sample recordings and learn more about Mr. Johnson, visit www.johnsonguitarstudio.com 
Please direct media inquiries to [email protected]

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