Violinist, Carmen Johnson-Pájaro began studying violin at age 5 in Birmingham, Alabama. Carmen enjoys an eclectic career, performing music spanning centuries and genres. A passionate chamber musician, Carmen performed extensively with her honors piano trio, Trio Noir, while at the Eastman School of Music. She has performed honorary solo and chamber music recitals in Kilbourn and Hatch Halls. As a freelance performer in Boston, Carmen has performed with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphony Nova, the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, and Palaver Strings. Over the years, she has also developed a love of early music and Baroque violin. She currently plays with the Harvard Baroque Chamber Orchestra under the direction of the esteemed Sarah Darling and Phoebe Carrai.
Beyond performing and teaching, Carmen has a deep commitment to community-based work as an artist. During her undergraduate years, Carmen was selected to participate in “Heifetz-on-Tour” and “Music Inspire Africa” (MIA). These programs took her to cities in Rhode Island, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, performing with colleagues, playing side-by-side with local community and youth orchestras, and teaching at various schools, as well as an AIDS orphanage. While at New England Conservatory, Carmen was a teaching fellow with the Communitty Performances and Partnerships program, and received a grant for her project, REMIX, a music program working with male teens in a juvenile detention center.
Carmen has spent her summers at the Heifetz International Music Festival, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Chautauqua Institution, Meadowmount School of Music, and others. She holds a Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory, and a Bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music, where she was a Lois Rogers Scholar and a recipient of the Links Scholarship. Carmen’s primary teachers include Paul Biss, Juliana Athayde, Ayano Ninomiya, and Sergiu Schwartz.