Daily News Journal: Local musician performs for senators, Tennesseans

Johnson part of National Symphony's music institute

Posted on July 15, 2011

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker and Tennessee visitors to Washington were treated to a special performance by Susanna Johnson of Murfreesboro and Kameron Myers of Franklin at the legislators' weekly "Tennessee Tuesday" breakfast.

Johnson performed on viola while Myers played violin. Both musicians are participating in this year's National Symphony Orchestra National Trustees' Summer Music Institute 2011.

"I wish the United States Senate could operate with even a small bit of the harmony you two shared with us this morning," Alexander told the musicians. "I applaud Susanna and Kameron for their talent and commitment to music, which has been a great source of joy in my life since my mother took me to my first piano lesson as a child.

"I told them this morning that when I was a law clerk in New Orleans back in the '60s, I'd go down to a place called Your Father's Mustache on Bourbon Street and play whatever instrument they needed that night — trombone, tuba, or washboard," Alexander said. "I hope their love of music — one of Tennessee's great treasures that unifies our state like almost nothing else — continues and that they keep looking for ways to bless other lives with their great talent."

Johnson and Myers were among 55 students chosen to participate in this year's institute, and are the only Tennessee participants. The institute runs for four weeks, during which students receive training and "experiences designed to aid aspiring musicians for futures in music," according to the Kennedy Center Education Department.

Training includes intensive coaching by members of the National Symphony, private lessons, a side-by-side rehearsal with members of the NSO, master classes with NSO musicians, seminars and a concerto competition.

According to the Kennedy Center, participants are chosen by recorded audition and resumes submitted either to the state chapters of the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education or to other designated arts organizations located in their regions.

Students perform six Kennedy Center concerts between June 27 and July 25.

"Music heritage runs deep in Tennessee, so the opportunity to watch two talented young people like Susanna and Kameron perform for us in Washington is special. It's a reminder of what makes our state and country great," Corker said. "The recognition they received from Lamar Alexander, the Senate's resident musician, is high praise indeed."