Johanna Varner, an Austrian citizen, was born in 1963 in Munich and is a cellist, double bass player and composer. She studied cello with Prof. Kiskalt, graduating from the Munich Conservatory. In 1984 she was awarded the Second Prize in the Bubenreuth String Quartet Competition; there followed cello studies at the David Oistrach Academy Ingolstadt with Eldar Issakadze; master-classes with the Alban Berg Quartet; since 1986 solo appearances with F. M. Einheit, Ulrike Haage, Katharina Franck, Alex Hacke, Phil Minton, Dieter Schnebel, and George Lewis.
She has cooperated with Martin Schütz, Gloria Coates, Ruedi Häusermann, Barry Gay and Larry Porter; substitute with the Munich Chamber Orchestra; double bass lessons with Rufus Reid, Thomas Stabenow and Henning Sieverts; played in many jazz bands; performed orchestral works under L. Bernstein, C. Poppen and others; foundation of the Ensemble Laurier for contemporary music in 2000; 2004 music grant awarded by the State Capital of Munich for further studies in Amsterdam.
Johanna Varner has initiated many concert series in Munich. She is a key member of the International Composers & Improvisers Forum Munich (ICI) and has founded the following events:
– Concert series ‘Internationale Begegnungen’ (International Encounters), funded by the German Music Council, the Cultural Affairs Office of the State Capital of Munich and various municipal boards as well as the Austrian Forum for Culture.
– Concert series ‘Composer in Dialogue’, sponsored by the Culture Foundation of the Munich Stadtsparkasse and the Cultural Affairs Office of the State Capital of Munich – guests included Joëlle Léandre and Olga Neuwirth.
– Monthly series ‘Improvisierte Musik München’ (Improvised Music Munich), taking place on the Falckenberg School stage ‘Schwere Reiter’, and also subsidised by the Cultural Affairs Office.
– The children’s ‘get-together’ music theatre project ‘Musik hautnah – mit Charlie um die Welt’ (Music firsthand – with Charlie around the world) with ca. 100 performances in schools and multipurpose halls in Munich, Bavaria and Austria, supported by the Cultural Affairs Office and the Municipal Offices for Schools.
Johanna Varner has also appeared at the ‘Internationale Begegnungen’ series along with Christofer Varner, Barry Guy, Joëlle Léandre, Pierre Favre, Maya Homburger, Han Bennink, Lucas Niggli, Susan Alcorn, Tobias Delius, Johannes Bauer, Freddy Studer, Franz Hautzinger, Thomas Lehn, George Lewis, Gunnar Geisse, Evan Parker, Joel Grip, Mary Oliver, and Phil Durrant. There emerged a number of ensembles, including: AMMÜ (Bennink, Oliver, Varner & Varner), STRINGS (Guy, Homburger, Varner & Varner), JOMO (Mary Oliver, J. Varner), Olivage (Oliver, Geisse, Varner & Varner).