“Instrumental Players” is a blog series that aims to highlight Utah Symphony musicians as part of the Deer Valley® Music Festival and discover what they love most about Park City, the orchestra’s summer home. This piece features Utah Symphony violist Carl Johansen.
“I’m really enjoying how well the orchestra is playing and how much everyone is focused on playing together.” – Carl Johansen
Carl Johansen is not only a skilled musician, but also an enthusiastic motorcyclist, paraglider, skier, and connoisseur of Peruvian cuisine. In a recent conversation, Utah Symphony violinist Lynn Rosen joked, “Hobbies? Carl doesn’t do anything fun.”
In 1992, Carl took a week-long paragliding course in Spain, but says that he really became serious about paragliding when he moved to Utah in 2005. In 1994, when Carl was offered a contract with the Orquesta Simfonica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluña, he decided to take up motorcycling since it would be difficult to paraglide while he was living in the city.
Carl enjoys riding his motorcycle in Utah, and especially appreciates the drive from Salt Lake City to Deer Valley®, the symphony’s summer home. “If it’s not raining or forecasted rain, I grab the motorcycle and I go over Guardsman Pass to come into Park City,” Carl says. “It’s a great trip to come over the mountain pass. It’s a wonderful way to go to work… the best commute that I could imagine.”
Carl has a special appreciation for Utah’s distinctive mountain scenery because he grew up near mountains in Juneau, Alaska. He says, “I really enjoy living where there are mountains… When I was a kid, we moved to Juneau and there were mountains everywhere. It was tremendously beautiful. My mom and I would be driving along, and [sometimes] she would pull over to the side of the road just to admire how beautiful the mountains were. I missed the mountains when I lived in other places like New York City.”
While Carl enjoys Utah’s mountains, he admits that they can sometimes be inconvenient when paragliding. In a paragliding flight from Bountiful to Draper in the summer of 2014, Carl accidentally flew into a mountain and injured his collarbone. “[It was] very annoying,” he joked when recounting the experience. He says, however, that Utah is a great place for paragliding and he finds many opportunities to take flights in the summer.
Carl has enjoyed performing in the Utah Symphony and feels that it has a unique sense of community. Carl feels that the musicians are “team players” and appreciates their focus on playing together. Carl joined the Utah Symphony in 2005, and was previously a member of the Orquesta Simfonica de Barcelona y Nacional de Cataluña, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Rochester Philharmonic. While Carl was in Spain, he met his wife Maritza, who is originally from Peru. They currently have a daughter who is a rising senior in high school.
This year’s Deer Valley® Music Festival includes seventeen concerts and takes place over a six-week period throughout the months of July and August. The schedule includes numerous pops themed concerts, which are held in the Deer Valley® Resort Snow Park Outdoor Amphitheater, and a midweek chamber series, which takes place at St. Mary’s Church in Park City. The concert Carl is currently most looking forward to is Haydn’s “Oxford” Symphony concert on July 27 at St. Mary’s Church. He says, “I’m really looking forward to [performing]… the Sinfonia concertante of Mozart, with Kathryn Eberle and Brant Bayless (our own people) as soloists. It’s a great piece and it will be fun to hear them play it.”
Carl’s Park City Restaurant Recommendation
Del Mar al Lago Peruvian Cevicheria (1890 Bonanza Dr, Park City, UT 84060) – Carl enjoys eating ceviche, a Peruvian seafood dish, at the Del Mar al Lago in Salt Lake City and is excited to try the new Park City location.