Director, School of Music
Professor of Music
Office: LH 231D
Award-winning composer Bryan Johanson takes inspiration from sources as varied as poets Sappho and Samuel Beckett, medieval physiology, ancient Roman history, and the grain of his personal experience. A native of Portland, Oregon, Johanson is an artist rooted in the Pacific Northwest and intent on communicating the textures of Oregon in his music.
Performed, recorded and published nationally and internationally, Johanson's work has won major awards from the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Aspen Music Festival, The Kennedy Center, UCLA and the Esztergom International Guitar Festival. Johanson studied composition with Charles Jones and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom. Johanson's catalogue of over eighty compositions features three symphonies, concertos for violin, cello and piano, numerous chamber works, song cycles and choral works, as well as compositions for solo instruments. In recent years he has focused a major portion of his creative energy on writing chamber music that includes guitar.
A prominent guitarist and recording artist, Johanson studied with Alirio Diaz, Christopher Parkening and Michael Lorimer. He has performed with orchestras, chamber music groups, choirs, and in solo recitals throughout the United States and Canada.
Johanson is a Professor of Music at Portland State University, where he founded PSU's successful guitar studies program and the Guitar Recital Series in 1978, and is the chair of the music department. In 1991 he established the popular Portland Guitar Festival, which he organizes annually.
Johanson lives in Portland with his wife Victoria and their daughter Molly.