- Ph.D. (Music Theory), , University of Michigan, 2009
- M.A. (Music Theory), , University of Michigan, 2006
- B.M. (Music Theory),, University of Michigan, 1998
- B.M. (Violin Performance), , University of Michigan, 1998
Blair Johnston is associate professor of music theory at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he teaches courses at every level of the curriculum and advises doctoral dissertations and research projects.
He earned his Ph.D. in 2009 from the University of Michigan with a dissertation on Sergei Rachmaninoff’s late music. For this work, he received a ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award.
Johnston’s publications on Rachmaninoff, Richard Strauss, George Crumb, and other composers have appeared in the journals Music Theory Spectrum, Music Analysis, and Music Theory Online, and he has given presentations at national and international conferences. His work as a music theorist deals mainly with the aesthetic characteristics of post-Romantic music, twentieth-century approaches to musical form, and the expressive ramifications of orchestration in music composed after 1900. His ongoing study of early twentieth-century orchestral works combines established music-theoretic approaches and detailed analysis of sound recordings. He is a member of the editorial board for the journal Music Theory Spectrum and is on the board of Music Theory Midwest.
A violinist by training, Johnston studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music, University of Michigan, Meadowmount School of Music, and Tanglewood, where he served as principal second violinist and concertmaster during the Festival of New Music. He has written and performed music in a range of styles, and he has an abiding interest in electronic music and audio technologies.