jenny olivia johnson
Jenny Olivia Johnson (she/hers) is a composer, sound artist, and musicologist currently based in Boston and Los Angeles. Her music has been described as “gorgeous, ominous, and hypnotic” by the Boston Globe, “stunning in its simplicity and power” by the Boston Musical Intelligencer, “bold” by the Los Angeles Times, and “iridescent, shimmering, and evocative” by Time Out New York. Her interactive sound installations (GLASS HEART (BELLS FOR SYLVIA PLATH) and DIVE (LUCY'S LAST DANCE)) have been exhibited at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. and at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College, and her two solo albums (DONT LOOK BACK and SYLVIA SONGS) were released on Innova Recordings in 2015 and 2018. Jenny is currently finishing a 90-minute hybrid "headphones" and installation opera, THE AFTER TIME, which tells a story of mutual grief and queer desire in 1990s NYC through saturated electroacoustic textures inspired by the cheesy 80s love songs, EDM, noise rock, riot-grrrl and no-wave musics of her youth.
Jenny has collaborated with a number of celebrated ensembles and soloists, including The Industry, Ninth Planet (formerly Wild Rumpus), New York City Opera, Alarm Will Sound, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble, IlluminArts Miami, Rhymes with Opera, Bridge, the UC Santa Cruz Choir, vocalists P. Lucy McVeigh, Alex Vissia, and Mike Jones, guitarist/composer Lisa Liu, and the vocal ensembles Polyphony (Voices of New Mexico) and Variant Six, with whom Jenny will premiere new works for choir and electronics in 2022. Jenny also frequently collaborates with visual artist Daniela Rivera, with whom she has made several large-scale installations involving sound--including "The Andes Inverted" at the MFA Boston in 2017, "Fragmentos para la historia de un olvido" at the Davis Museum Wellesley in 2018, "Sobremesa: Amplifying Voices" with the Boston Trust for Public Land in 2019, "STOP" at La Montagne Gallery in Boston in 2020, and "Precious Metals" (for "Migrating Landscapes") at St. Michael's College in Vermont in 2021. In addition, Jenny has collaborated with celebrated poet/musician Cornelius Eady and his Trio, with whom she created THRENODY: BLACK LIVES LOST, an EP of poetic soundscape-songs, in Summer 2020.
Jenny's scholarly work on synaesthesia, musical memory, and trauma has been published in The Oxford Handbook on Music and Queerness, Women & Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture and the Transcultural Music Review. She is currently an Associate Professor of Music at Wellesley College, where she teaches courses in music composition, electronic music, interactive sound art, music and sound for video games, and team-taught courses with visual arts faculty on multi-media installations involving sound.