John Johns earner a Bachelor of Music Degree in Guitar Performance at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, one of the first institutions to offer such a degree. He was scholarly student of the internationally famous guitar teacher Aaron Shearer, and from George Peabody College.
John Johns received first national recognition when he appeared on the Westinghouse-ABC television special "A Pride of Guitars." He was again heard nationally in the fall of 1979 on National Public Radio's "Concert Guitar," a series devoted to the classical guitar in America. Performing in the same series were some of the world's leading guitarists, among them Oscar Ghiglia, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Leo Brouwer, Sharon Isbin and Manuel Barrueco. He and appears in solo and ensemble recitals throughout the Southeast. His recording, "John Johns Plays Bach, Bennett, Brouwer and Others," has received international acclaim by leading guitar periodicals and journals. He has been a featured performer on "Recital Hall" on Nashville public television.
From 1972 to 1980 John Johns was Artist-Teacher of Guitar at the Blair Academy of Music. He served as Assistant Professor in the School of Music at George Peabody College from 1976 to 1980 and is presently Associate Professor of Guitar at the Blair School of Music of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is Chair of the Guitar Department. Under his direction, Blair's guitar program has been recognized as one of the most highly recommended internationally.
In 1997 John Johns celebrated 25 years of performing and teaching in Nashville with a concert dedicated to his friend and mentor Chet Atkins. In March, 2000, Johns played two concerts in France. He was the featured performer from the USA at the Nice Guitar Festival and gave a master-class at the Modern Art Museum in downtown Nice. In addition, he made his Paris debut at a concert for United States Ambassador Amy L. Bondurant of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Members of the international diplomatic community and French government attended the performance, as well as American film actress Olivia de Havilland.
A first-rate performer with sure fingers and firm musical sense... a sensitive instrumentalist." - The New York Times
"An unforgettable guitarist! Johns' guitar often sounds like a mellow piano. A delight!" - Guitar Review, New York
"Always musical and poetic." - Classical Guitar, England
"More than just a fine guitarist; he is a superb musician." "A classical guitar wizard." - The Nashville Tennessean
"The playing was splendidly florid, with exceptional nuance of phrase and dynamic." - The Nashville Scene
"He has a feeling for the questions and answer character of motovic interplay, a knack for using dynamics to highlight structure, a natural way of shaping phrases. The slow movement of Giuliani's C-major sonata was very lyrically done, and Mr. Johns' way of energizing little thematic fragments brought a Haydenesque quality in an opening movement that usually registers as bel canto pleasantry." - The New York Times