Jessica Johnson serves on the piano faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as Associate Professor of Piano and Director of Graduate Studies in Piano Pedagogy. In 2006, she was the recipient of UW-Madison's prestigious Emil Steiger Distinguished Teaching Award for excellence in teaching. Johnson has formerly been on the faculties of Augustana College (Illinois), Sterling College, and the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts.
In addition to her love for the standard keyboard repertoire, Johnson frequently commissions and programs contemporary solo and chamber works. Recent performances include Frederic Rzewski's monumental The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, William Albright's Five Chromatic Dances and Olivier Messiaen's Visions de l'Amen for two pianos, with Midori Koga. She regularly performs with Sole Nero, a piano and percussion duo with Anthony Di Sanza, percussion. In an effort to contribute to the repertoire of this diverse medium, the duo has engaged in an extensive commissioning project resulting in many new works by composers such as Dave Hollinden, Joel Naumann, Joseph Koykkar, Serra Hwang and Michael Kallstrom. Sole Nero has performed extensively in the United States and recently appeared in Shenyang and Beijing, China. In 2004, the duo released its first compact disc recording on the Equilibrium label titled Music per Due. Recent performance venues include the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Society of Composers National Conference, the MTNA National Conference and multiple performances in the U.S.
An active clinician, she has given workshops and presentations at the European Piano Teachers Association International Conference (Portugal and Serbia), the World Piano Pedagogy Conference, five featured presentations at MTNA National Conferences, as well as held residencies at major universities and colleges throughout the United States, and in Canada and China. Johnson has articles published in American Music Teacher, Piano Journal of the European Piano Teachers Association, Keyboard Companion, Piano Pedagogy Forum and Piano Adventures Teacher Newsletter. In 2007, she was the recipient of the National Article of the Year Award for "The Art of Listening with Depth, Understanding, Flow and Imagery" (in collaboration with Midori Koga, University of Toronto).
Johnson received her MM in Piano Performance and DMA in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Michigan, where she was the recipient of numerous awards and scholarships, including the "Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award" for the entire university, and a graduate merit fellowship. She holds the BM in Piano Performance, magna cum laude, from East Carolina University. Her principal teachers include Arthur Greene, Charles Fisher, Donna Coleman, and piano pedagogy studies with Joanne Smith and Kerry Carlin.