Gunnar Johansen (1906-1991)
Pianist, Composer, Scholar, Humanist and Founder of the Leonardo Academy

One of the foremost pianists of his time and an immensely prolific composer, Gunnar Johansen was born in Denmark on January 21, 1906. He was closely associated with the Busoni circle in Berlin in the 1920s and studied with Egon Petri. After tours in Europe, Johansen emigrated to the United States, living on the West Coast. He was a major figure in the musical life of San Francisco and gave weekly radio concerts for NBC. In 1939 he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin as the first Artist-in-Residence in music in America.

Based just outside Madison, Wisconsin, Johansen undertook unparalleled activities as a pianist and recording artist while simultaneously composing a vast body of imaginative works for the piano. His achievement is gradually being re-evaluated.

Legendary Artist

Published at Music and Vision

A major overview article with photos and almost ONE HOUR of Gunnar Johansen performances of music by Bach, Busoni, Liszt and Johansen.

This new website established July 31, 2009.

This website designed and implemented by Gordon Rumson with the co-operation and endorsement of the Gunnar and Lorraine Johansen Charitable Trust, James P. Colias, Trustee.

This site and all contents © 2009 The Gunnar and Lorraine Johansen Charitable Trust, except where otherwise specifically indicated. All rights reserved. No re-use without permission.

E-mail at:

New CD Release!
Gunnar Johansen performs music by J.S. Bach, CPE Bach, Liszt, Busoni, Johansen, Strauss-Godowsky, Gluck-Friedman and Chopin.

In a selection of live and studio recordings made between 1928
and 1986!

1 “Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor” Bach-Johansen
2 “Rondo in G Major” C.P.E. Bach
3 “Apres une Lecture de Dante: Fantasia quasi Sonata” Franz Liszt
4 “Ten Variations on Chopin’s C minor Prelude” Ferruccio Busoni
5 “Sonata No. 2” (“Pearl Harbor Sonata”) Gunnar Johansen
6 “Symphonic Metamorphosis on the Waltz ‘Artist’s Life’ ” Strauss-Godowsky
7 “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from “Orfeo ed Euridice” Gluck-Friedman
8 “Etude G-flat Major” Op. 10, No. 5 Chopin