David Johnson is a Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music in London. He is currently the professor of horn at the Conservatorio della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland. He has held principal horn positions in the Boston Opera Orchestra, Niedersaechsisches Staatsorchester Hannover, Philharmonia Hungarica, Radio Symphony Orchestra of Basel, and the Bern Symphony.

Before moving to the Conservatorio in Lugano, Mr. Johnson taught at the Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Winterthur-Zurich, and the Bern Musikhochschule. As a soloist, he won the Geneva International Horn Competition and the Swiss Prize in 1985.

With the American Horn Quartet, which he founded in 1982, he won first prizes in Hungary (1989), Belgium (1991), and Japan (1992), in addition to recording 8 albums with the group.

Mr. Johnson has served as a judge for many prestigious horn competitions, regularly conducts masterclasses around the world and hosts the HORNCAMPS! annual summer horn workshop in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Teaching Philosophy

There simply are not enough jobs that pay a living wage to go around to all of the talented horn players in the world. My philosophy is simple - we work towards making the general practice like the actual audition. We will not have experience in taking auditions unless we practice doing it daily. The class prepares repertoire, performs in front of the class and receives helpful criticism towards getting a job. It is not easy to perform in front of a critical audience, but it is necessary to get used to doing so in order to win a position in an orchestra. The course is designed to give the students the best opportunity to win a professional audition.
— David Johnson

Student Placements

Mr. Johnson has taught many students who went on to have successful orchestral horn playing careers. Students have won jobs in orchestras all over the world, including:

  • La Scala Orchestra
  • Berner Symphonie Orchester
  • Lucerne Symphony Orchestra
  • Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg
  • Gulbenkian Orchestra, Lisbon
  • Orchestra da Nord
  • Tonhalle Orchester Zuerich
  • Basler Sinfonie Orchester
  • Symphonie Orchestra Biel
  • St. Gallen Orchester
  • Rome Opera
  • Santa Cecilia Orchestra Roma
  • Armenian National Orchestra
  • Israeli Chamber Orchestra
  • Dushon Wind Symphony, Beijing
  • National Radio Orchestra, Bucharest
  • Warsaw National Opera Orchestra
  • Radio Orchestra Brataslava
  • Verdi Orchestra, Milano


Mr. Johnson recorded many albums with the American Horn Quartet. Below is a selection of pieces from the AHQ album Im Herbst.