B i o g r a p h y
Johan Eriksson is Professor of Saxophone
and Jazz Studies at the University of Montana (www.umontanasaxstudio.com). He is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist. Originally from Onsala, Sweden, he now resides in Missoula, Montana. He is a versatile performer and is in demand nationally and internationally for his expertise on how to effectively teach jazz and classical styles (see dissertation pdf link under picture).
Johan's latest album project, Montana Sounds (2022), features Montana-inspired original music by the University of Montana Jazz Faculty.
Johan released his jazz/electronica album Emulation (2021) in collaboration with producer Syrenne. The album explores the improvisatory language of six jazz greats fused with electronica beats.
Johan is a member of genre cross-over ensemble Hemispheres Saxophone Quartet. The group has toured China twice (2017, 2015) where they performed and taught at the Forbidden City Concert Hall, Beijing Contemporary Music Academy, China Saxophone Association, Tianjin Conservatory, Tianjin May Festival, Baotou Teaching University, Changsha Concert Hall, Tianjin Contemporary Music Academy, Wuhan Conservatory and the Wuhan Concert Hall. The group was also featured on Beijing English Radio.
Johan is also a member of Dyo Nyans, a group dedicated to new music for saxophone and clarinet. In 2019, the duo toured Taiwan, teaching and performing at concert halls and universities. They released their first album, Debut, in 2018. They taught and performed at Malmo Music Conservatory and Lunnevad Folkhogskola in Sweden in 2018. The duo has performed at the University of Tennessee, University of Kansas, Central Washington University, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, University of California - Long Beach, Oklahoma State University, and was selected for the 2015 International Clarinet Association ClarinetFest in Madrid.
Johan toured Sweden twice (2018, 2016) with jazz guitarist Steve Kovalcheck, performing and teaching in southern and western Sweden, including Malmo Music Conservatory and Fridhem Folkhogskola. The duo was featured on Swedish Radio Nostalgi and were inducted into their Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame.
Johan has performed with jazz artists such as Slide Hampton, Dee Dee Bridewater, Rufus Reid, Hamiet Bluiett, Bill Holman, "Blue" Lou Marini, Vince DiMartino, Azar Lawrence, Wayne Bergeron, Steve Turre, Jay Sanborn, Greg Gisberg, Ingrid Jensen, Lee Konitz, Grace Kelly, Willie Pickens, Donny McCaslin, Johnathan Blake, Boris Kozlov and many others. He has performed on two Dazzle Jazz label recordings ("Into the Open" and "Hold On") with the Fred Hess Big Band, alongside Matt Wilson, Ron Miles and John Gunther.
While working on his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado, Johan was often seen with the Ninth and Lincoln Jazz Orchestra led by ASCAP "Emerging Composer" award winner Tyler Gilmore and with the Colorado Jazz Orchestra led by Dana Landry, Jim White and David Caffey.
While Johan is an in demand jazz saxophonist, he also works extensively with classical groups. He has performed with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra (under composer John Corigliano), Rockford Symphony Orchestra, Missoula Symphony Orchestra, Helena Symphony Orchestra, Roosevelt Wind Ensemble. He has been the soloist with the Chicago Chamber Singers, and the Butte Symphony Orchestra.
Johan performs regularly at the North American Saxophone Alliance Conferences. He has won the prestigious Southard Competition (2009). He has performed under band conductors Harry Begian, Thomas Leslie, Dennis Zeisler, Don Wilcox, Kenneth Singleton, David Holsinger and John Locke.
Before moving to Denver in 2007, Johan lived in Chicago for six years where he performed with musicians such as Dan Nimmer, Greg Ward, Doug Stone, Joey Sellers, Ron Carter, Tom Garling, Fareed Haque, Art Davis, Banda Rika Salsa Band (voted best salsa band in Chicago, 2002) and many others.
While freelancing in Chicago, he worked as a band director in the Dekalb Public School District. Johan has taught every grade level from Kindergarten through 12th.
His duties at the University of Montana include teaching jazz and classical saxophone lessons, saxophone quartets, saxophone studio class, advanced improvisation, jazz combos and saxophone methods.
Johan holds a doctorate in saxophone from the University of Northern Colorado where he performed with UNC
Lab Band I, UNC Combo I, UNC Wind Ensemble I, and UNC Saxophone Quartet I.
Doctor of Arts, 2012 - Northern Colorado University
Masters of Jazz Pedagogy, 2003 -Northern Illinois University
Bachelor of Music Jazz Studies, 2001
Bachelor or Music Performance, 2001
-University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Please feel free to download my 2012 dissertation on solutions to issues related to learning both jazz and classical saxophone. Dissertation is based on my interviews with Jim Riggs, Tom Walsh, Branford Marsalis, Donald Sinta, Andrew Dahlke, Rick van Matre, Andrew Bishop, and Steve Duke.