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Johanna Burnheart is a German violinist, singer and composer.
After studying classical violin, piano and voice during childhood, Johanna’s musical focus developed into jazz. Rather than following the path expected of a classical violinist, she chose instead to pursue the music that was her passion.
The violin is still a rare instrument in the jazz world, so Johanna finds herself within a niche of a niche. Her playing does not reflect the traditional approach to jazz violin made famous by players such as Stéphane Grapelli or Stuff Smith but is rather inspired by the horn giants of the modal jazz genre.
Much of her life has been spent absorbed in the Berlin sound of the techno & house scene resulting in this certain influence permeating her compositions. Johanna’s work exists at the point where modal jazz and techno meet. This is an ever developing venture as technology allows the acoustic sound of the violin to come alive electronically without compromises.
Inspired by a diverse spectrum of teachers and influences, Johanna’s education has been multifaceted. From early beginnings at a music school in Northern Germany to becoming a “Specialist Musician” at the prestigious Wells Cathedral School, Johanna went on to participate in summer jazz programmes at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Dublin and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. This total immersion into jazz at this point provided the impetus for her to change genres definitively.
Upon this new path, Johanna spent two years in Berlin studying with some of Germany’s most renowned jazz musicians, with monthly trips to Paris for lessons with Didier Lockwood at his jazz school. Her love for the Berlin clubs and the music they represent was manifested during this time, forming the foundation of her current musical style.
In 2013, she enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London as the first jazz violin undergraduate student of the school. The timing was perfect; jazz in London was just on the verge of exploding into the kaleidoscopic scene that it is today.
Notable performances since her return to the UK were the Women’s Day concert with Tomorrow’s Warriors “Nu Civilisation Orchestra” debuting Yazz Ahmed’s Polyhymnia suite at Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2015, playing support for Pharaoh Sanders at Ronnie Scott’s with Rosie Turton in 2018 and a tribute show to the Blue Note Label at Queen Elizabeth Hall for the EFG London Jazz Festival 2019 in collaboration with Total Refreshment Centre.
Past collaborations include Maisha, Yazz Ahmed, Jazz Jamaica, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Kinkajous, Teotima, Susheela Raman and Nardeydey.
As well as being a regular member of Rosie Turton’s band, Johanna joined the up and coming London Garage Orchestra in 2019 and toured UK festivals with both projects that year including Glastonbury Festival, Boomtown Fair, Love Supreme, Jazz Re:Fest and Brainchild.
Since forming her own band “Burnheart” end of 2018, Johanna has performed at jazz re:freshed, Spice of Life, Jazz in the Round and the Jazz Café with this project; the latter being an event presented by jazz re:freshed called “The Sounds of 2020”.
The “Burnheart” debut album will be released on Ropeadope Records in September 2020
where are all the dreams
they grew apart from me
all I can see is silence
released June 5, 2020
violin/voice/synthesizer Johanna Burnheart
Wurlitzer/synthesizer David Swan
double bass Jonny Wickham
drums/shaker Boz Martin-Jones
(Never Let Me Go)
Hermeto’s frog/bottle tops Noel Langley
dustbin lid Johanna Burnheart
composer/arranger/producer Johanna Burnheart
musical direction/arranger/producer Noel Langley
sound engineered and mixed by David Holmes
mastered by Robin Morrison
photography Cleo Valentine
artwork Sorcha Kennedy
recorded at Soup Studios in London, March 29&30/2019
supported by 22 fans who also own “Silence Is Golden”
This album is incredible from start to finish. It is a great display of a career steeped in musical diversity. Was listening to this in my car during a longish drive back home recently and Calhoun Square had me whooping and hollering! What a band! saxcellent