Don Johns

Don Johns's Biography

Don Johns is an in-demand percussion performer and educator in the Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan area. He is a regular substitute musician with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Johns is also Principal Timpanist of the Apollo Orchestra in Washington, D.C.. In addition, he is the lead percussionist for Soulful Symphony (Columbia, MD). Moreover, Dr. Johns is a proud member of both the Gateways Festival Orchestra (Rochester, NY) and the Colour of Music Festival Orchestra (Charleston, SC) - two groundbreaking groups that spotlight professional black classical musicians.

Along with orchestral work, Dr. Johns has played drum set and percussion for music productions at the Kennedy Center (DC), Hollywood Bowl (LA), Brooklyn Academy of Music (NY), Moore Theatre (Seattle, WA), Lincoln Theatre (DC), Atlas Theatre (DC), Signature Theatre (VA), Studio Theatre (DC), Onley Theatre (MD), and Toby’s Dinner Theatre (MD). He also plays drum set and timpani for several churches in the Washington, D.C. area. Dr. Johns is the Adjunct Professor of Percussion at Bowie State University in Bowie, MD. Dr. Johns is also the Percussion Director at Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD. His percussion ensemble was the featured high school percussion ensemble for the Percussive Arts Society’s 2017 Maryland/Delaware Day of Percussion.

In addition, Dr. Johns was the percussion coach for the D.C. Youth Orchestra Program for thirteen years (2006-2019). From 2005-2015, Dr. Johns taught band and orchestra in both Prince George’s County Public Schools (2005-2011) and at KIPP D.C. (2011-2015). In May 2022, Dr. Johns completed a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Percussion Performance at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, Virginia. He has a Master of Music degree in Percussion Performance (2011) and Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education (2005), both from the University of Maryland. In addition, Dr. Johns has served on the music grant reviewing panels for the Washington D.C., State of Maryland, and Prince George’s County Arts and Humanities Councils.

He is endorsed by Yamaha Corporation of America, Innovative Percussion, and Black Swamp Percussion. Dr. Johns also serves as President of the Maryland/Delaware Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2017, Dr. Johns created a non-profit organization called the DMV Music Academy. Its mission is to expose, engage, and enrich young people through all forms of instrumental music education. He was born and raised in Howard County, MD, and currently resides in Hyattsville, MD.

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