Robert Johnson studied horn at the NSW Conservatorium and after spending a year in the ABC Training Orchestra he joined the West Australian Symphony Orchestra as Third Horn. He was appointed Principal Horn in 1977 and appeared numerous times as soloist with the WASO and the Perth Wind Quintet, which regularly toured Western Australia and recorded for ABC Radio.
He joined the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as Associate Principal Horn before leaving in 1979 to pursue further study in Europe and the USA. Returning to Sydney in 1981, he took up the position of Principal Horn with the Elizabethan Sydney Orchestra, and in 1986 he rejoined the SSO as Principal Horn.
In 1990 Robert Johnson performed Strauss’s Horn Concerto No.1 and devised a program for the SSO’s Music for Spring series, appearing as soloist and conductor. In 1991 he acted as Artistic Director for the Amadeus Wind Players’ series of concerts at the Sydney Conservatorium, and also appeared as soloist with the SSO in performances of Ross Edwards’ Aria and Transcendental Dance at the Seymour Centre. Other highlights with the SSO include performances of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.2 in 1992 and Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings in 1993.
Robert Johnson works regularly with the Australia Ensemble and Sydney Soloists, and was a founding member of the Chamber Soloists of Sydney. He has also taught at the Sydney Conservatorium and the Canberra School of Music.