Teacher Profile: Okorie Johnson

Okorie Johnson

Okorie Johnson

Instrument(s): Cello

City: Atlanta


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About Okorie Johnson

Okorie Johnson has been playing the cello for 30 years, has been a cellist in popular and contemporary projects for the last 17 years, and has 7 years of cello teaching experience to add to his 10 years of experience as a high school English instructor. Okorie's musical background is as unique and eclectic as his approach to playing and teaching cello, and he is committed to broadening the horizon and creating opportunities for classically trained cellists to explore and contribute to contemporary music.

Okorie trained privately in Maryland, first with Robert Hofmekler and most notably with Oliver Edel at the Levine School of Music. While he opted not to go to conservatory, some highlights of his early career are traveling to China, Hong-Kong, and Taiwan at the age of 11 with the DC Youth Orchestra, performing in a cello quartet for the late cello great Mstislav Rostropovich, and in a pops orchestra for the legendary songstress Pearl Bailey.

In college, Okorie found that the cello was a beautiful complement to singer-songwriter guitarists, which led to a career of playing in acoustic, guitar-based bands. Over the next 17 years, he would play in his own acoustic rock band, Us!, with acclaimed and celebrated Atlanta singer-songwriter Doria Roberts, Virginia based pianist and guitarist Leah Morgan, and most notably with Grammy award winning neo-classic soul singer India Arie. In addition to playing with these major acts, Okorie has played in the pit for the Freddie Hendrix Youth Ensemble of Atlanta as well as with variety of bands from progressive rock to goth. Even more, he has been a session cellist in a wide range of genres including country, acid jazz, and electronica.

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