Fairfax Academy Teacher Nominated for Music Educator of the Year Award

By Mary Shaw
Spotlight
December 08, 2016

Christopher Johnston at the pianoFor Christopher Johnston, music and music education are central to life.  He was recently named a semifinalist for the Music Educator of the Year award—his third nomination for this award, which is a program of the Grammy Awards—one of only two semifinalists in Virginia.  Throughout his 17 years as a music and computer technology teacher at Fairfax Academy, Johnston has been able to watch students develop and expand their creativity during class. He says he particularly enjoys hearing from alumni about their careers in music and how well they are doing as professionals in the music industry.

Students in Johnston’s classes are dual-enrolled with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), where he conducts the symphony orchestra and is able to premiere student work. He also serves as a guest conductor and music director at his church.

Johnston is also a professional pianist and composer.  He wrote the theme music for the Fairfax County Park Service summer concerts, composed a work for children based on the story “Storm Along,” and composed liturgical service music for his church.  For his niece—a concert violinist—Johnston composed a set of variation on the Korean folk song “Arirang,” which premiered at the Eastman School of Music.  He had the opportunity to perform his composition at NVCC with a guest violinist.

Johnston is an avid traveler, recently visiting Korea and his son in Charlottesville.  He enjoys reading and playing chess, and is a recent yoga devotee.

A graduate of Indiana University with a bachelor’s of music in composition, Johnston earned a master’s of music in conducting from George Mason University.