David Johnston was born in Belfast, and after graduating in music at Queen’s University, he moved to London in 1971 to complete his studies at London University’s Institute of Education.
After some freelance clarinet playing, David was appointed Head of Woodwind for the London Borough of Barnet where he was responsible for the development of instrumental teaching in the primary schools, starting pupils from the age of seven.
During his nineteen years in Barnet, David built up a national reputation for his work with group teaching techniques and was a visiting lecturer in teaching studies at London University and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
In 1984, with his wife Gill, he set up the National Children’s Wind Orchestra charity, which today has six groups, three wind orchestras and three chamber orchestras for players aged from 10 – 19 years.
David is often a guest conductor of school and county groups all over Britain and is presently a director of Musicale Ltd, the music school and national music course organisation (Musicale Holidays).
Recently, his main project has been the development of the Musicale Young Artists’ Programme, a residential course in the summer for advanced players, many of whom progress to music college or study music academically.
David has four children, all following a career in music, Rupert, a busy French Horn player, Magnus, leader of the Navarra String Quartet, Guy, the BBC Young Musician 2000 who famously broke a cello string at the start of his performance, and Izzy was a member of the all-girl electric string quartet, Escala.
Life is never dull following their musical exploits, however playing the clarinet is also very important for David who is currently principal clarinet with the London-based Haydn Chamber Orchestra.