Headshot of Alan Johnston

Alan Johnston


Alan Johnston, Suzuki and traditional guitar instructor, is best known as the founder of the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet (MGQ) with which he performed for 16 years. During his tenure with the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, he toured throughout the U.S., performing in recitals and at numerous festivals as well as on radio programs St. Paul Sunday and NPR’s Performance Today. He recorded two CDs with the MGQ on the Albany Label, both receiving critical acclaim in the U.S. and abroad. The Quartet commissioned and premiered dozens of new works from 1987 to 2002, including a work by Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Leslie Bassett and a concerto for 4 guitars by Ian Krouse.

He also performs with his wife, pianist Heather MacLaughlin, with whom he has appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

In recent years, his students have been frequent winners at important regional and international competitions, and in the Fall of 2008, a quartet of his MacPhail high school students was chosen to perform on the NPR radio show, From the Top.

Alan received a Bachelor of Arts degree at Macalester College, and a Master of Music degree from the University of Minnesota. His principal teachers were: José Tomás, with whom he studied for two years in Spain, as well as Eli Kassner and Jeffrey Van.

Favorite non-musical hobby: Gardening and cooking

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