Late March 2019: the ever-expanding world of new art and interdisciplinary collaboration!

I’ve had a whirlwind of a week, spending a few days in Philadelphia, then a week at YoungArts Los Angeles. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by some of the best artists of my generation and challenged to push my interdisciplinary inclinations even further. I learned so much about other art forms and enjoyed thinking about ways to integrate them into my practice as a musician and creative artist in the future. Almost too much talent gathered together at the beautiful UCLA campus! There was definitely something very special in the air.

I was also very happy to be reunited with old artistic friends. Shout out to Nico, Ben, Gracie, Scott, Karlie, and Tiffany! It was exhilarating to be able conduct my new (like 3-weeks-old new!!) piece commissioned for the 2019 LA Winners in Classical Music, and I so appreciated the musicians’ willingness to experiment with some unusual ideas (and to sacrifice their knees to hours of bombardment with tuning forks!). Pictures below.

Another bit of news worth mentioning: I was selected as one of three emerging composers to participate in the 2019 Cabrillo Conductors/Composers Workshop (friends in Santa Cruz are of course invited to attend the concert!). This is an incredible honor for anyone at any age, and especially exciting an opportunity for me, being on the younger end of under 30. I’m so excited (and a little intimidated, I’ll admit) to be able to work with the Festival Orchestra, Kristin Kuster, Cristian Măcelaru, Octavio Más-Arocas, the amazing other fellows, and the accomplished composers-in-residence. I will be writing a new piece very quickly, so wish me luck! In fact, I really should be writing music and not this blog post, so that’s it for now.

Best wishes and happy writing/playing/leading/being creative to everyone!


Week in Review

Thanks to the Tribeca Ensemble for a great performance of a new piece for string quartet and electronics last week! It isn’t too often I find myself playing the following instrument:

Enjoyed a thoroughly devastating Tchaik 6 with Utah Phil this week as well. Between the emotional exhaustion of this piece and the physical exhaustion of In C (next month!), I’ll be ready for the ensemble musician Olympics… #goingforgold (with artistic integrity, of course).

Meanwhile, the universe offers up a humorous moment of inspiration…

SPCO Week in Review

Pictures from a massively successful week with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Tito Muñoz!! Thank you to the SPCO for their warm welcome and unbelievable playing. #legends…

Plus, reviews are in:

For one all of 17 years old, Maya Miro Johnson is an astonishingly confident composer, judging from her piece that was premiered Friday, “wherever you go, there you are.” It’s a sparse yet involving work in which a sheet of metal stroked with mallets roars like a lion and moans like a whale as it engages in dialogue with offstage strings. Atypical sounds emerge throughout the work, leading me to believe that Johnson has an admirable imagination and a promising future.”
-Ron Hubbard with the Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Taking a bow on Friday night
Pre-concert discussion with Lembit Beecher
Pre-concert discussion with Lembit Beecher
Post-concert pic with Tito and Devin, one of my most important mentors and friends and a great composer in his own right! 😀

February Update!

Maya follows along with her score during rehearsal in St. Paul, MN - 2018.

Dear Friends,

Well, I was going to do a “highlight of the month” post, but then I realized there have been so many highlights this February, it’s been practically defaced with bright yellow sharpie!  So, in recapitulation:

I had a fantastic time playing violin with Wild Up and Chris Rountree on their Salt Lake City tour stop back at the beginning of the month.  It was an exciting program of diverse work representing the manifest influence of music on actual worldly change (i.e. political and social).  We played works including Rzewski, Eastman, Oliveros, Tenney, Knowles, and Wild Up member Adrianne Pope.  The most difficult piece was by far Louis Andriessen’s Workers Union, a masterpiece of chance-based minimalism.  It was especially difficult for me for a number of reasons, one of which was that I received the music only a few days before the concert.  Though I’ve written and studied such notation before, I’ve never actually played it, so this experience gave me a lot of sympathy for the players I’ve subjected to demanding aleatory!  As a classical musician, I’ve spent so much time training myself to prepare while I’m playing or conducting; be it cues, shifts, bow distribution, or tempo change (etc.), I’m always thinking ahead.  This is absolutely impossible with Workers Unions, and in fact is almost prohibited.  Reading fast-paced rhythms, remembering repeats and meter changes, AND making up the pitches simultaneously??  It’s a lot to ask and is a dangerously complex combination of otherwise simple things.  Ultimately, it was a rewarding experience to learn the piece and play alongside professional musicians.  We all failed and recovered together!  I’m grateful for their patience and endless energy. 

A page of from Louis Andriessen’s Workers Union

Visited Baltimore this weekend to audition at the Peabody Conservatory!  Unfortunately, didn’t make it to the Edgar Allan Poe museum, but I did go to the Walkers Art Museum in search of inspiration (found disturbing Medieval torture allegories instead, but hey, cultural experience).  Was also able to see a Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concert with the ineffable Conrad Tao, who not only paints the most colorful canvas one’s ever seen of any concerto, but also creates music with a deep figurative understanding of the universe.  Met with the composition department and the fabulous Joseph Young.

At the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (with a blurry but still absolutely astounding Marin Alsop in the background)!
Outside The Peabody Institute’s Miriam Friedberg Hall

AND last but certainly not least… my big weekend with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has finally arrived!!!!!!!! (and yes, I understand that is an excessive amount of exclamation marks, but a well-deserved indulgence in this case).  Rehearsals with the fabulous Tito Muñoz started today, despite blizzards and sudden illnesses, and we will have concerts on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  I will be getting to do the preconcert lecture I’ve always dreamed of doing, as well.  The livestream will be available at this link and I would so appreciate your digital attendance!  Hope you can tune in.  😀 😀 😀


I’m an official guest artist, complete with official itinerary!
Being a guest artist…