Johan Smith

Thursday, April 28, 2022, at 8:00 PM

Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, New York City

Co-presentation with the Guitar Foundation of America

Rose Augustine Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 Guitar Foundation of America Solo Artist Competition

“… compelling sense of touch and musicality” – Gramophone

“… a tremendously gifted guitarist and musical artist” – Fanfare


BACH Toccata, BWV 914
BRITTEN Nocturnal After John Dowland, Op. 70
SCHUBERT Erlkönig, D. 328
JOSQUIN SCHWIZGEBEL Les Reflets de l’Obscurité
RODRIGO Sonata Giocosa
METHENY Four Paths of Light: Part I

Swiss classical guitarist, Johan Smith, is a highly acclaimed, illustrious musician, bringing virtuosic interpretations to his instrument. Winner of the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America (GFA) competition in  2019 and defined as the “Classical Guitar Revelation 2017” by the notable French magazine Guitar Classique, Johan Smith has become one of the most prominent names in the world of classical guitar. He has been invited to perform in renowned festivals, is a highly in-demand concert soloist, and has performed with orchestras such as the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, and the Versoix Chamber Orchestra.

Playing at the highest level, Johan Smith has won some of the most competitive and distinguished guitar competitions in the world. As a result of his 2019 win of classical guitar’s most venerable competition, Guitar Foundation of America (GFA), Johan has recorded his first solo album with the Naxos Label (2020). He was a featured soloist in the virtual June 2020 GFA conference, and began his nine- month winner’s tour in September 2021, presenting solo concerts and conducting masterclasses and outreach activities in over 50 cities across the United States and Canada. Johan is recording his second album with the Naxos Label as part of winning 1st place in the Changsha International Guitar Competition in 2019, and, will also be embarking on a 6-city tour throughout China (Hangzhou, Chengdu, Kunming, Yueyang, Xi’an, Changsha).

In addition to winning 1st prize the Guitar Foundation of America (US) and the Changsha International Guitar Competition (China) in 2019, Johan Smith has also won prizes in the following competitions: Special Prize from the Victoria & Joaquin Rodrigo Foundation, first prize at the International Guitar Competition of Thessaloniki, first prize at the International Competition of Fontenay-Sous-Bois, first prize at the International Festival Guitare au Beffroi, first prize at the Leopold Bellan International Competition, first prize at the National Competition of Ceyzeriat (also winning the public prize), third prize at the Pleven International Guitar Competition, and third prize at the Aalborg International Guitar Competition.

Johan’s particular interest in contemporary music has led him to collaborate with several composers, including Josquin Schwizgebel and Arnaud Fillion, who dedicated his Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra to Johan. His affiliation with Arnaud Fillion bestowed an opportunity to record Fillion’s three-movement concerto with the Budapest Symphony Orchestra in October 2019, released in February 2020.

Born in 1990 in Geneva, Johan obtained a Bachelor in 2015 and a Master of Arts in Instrumental Pedagogy in 2017 at the University of Music of Lausanne, in the class of Dagoberto Linhares. In addition to teaching guitar at the Conservatory of Morges, he also obtained the most important academic title in the field of musical performance in Switzerland: the Master of Arts specializing in Music Performance Soloist (2019), awarded the highest grade.

In a completely different approach, he is the founder, composer, performer and graphic designer in the extreme metal band Stortregn, with whom he has already recorded four albums and played on three continents since 2005.