Sinfonia 2: Terra Nova Suite

8:00 PM | St. John's Arts and Culture Centre | 04.13.2022

The NSO is delighted to partner with the Arts & Culture Centre and Jeff Johnston Jazz Trio to present the new work “Terra Nova Suite.” The concert will be conducted by Bill Brennan. Come for a night of toe-tapping fun and hear the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia like never before! This concert will be held at 8:00pm on April 13th, 2022 at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre. Tickets are available at the ACC Box Office (729-3900), and online at


About Jeff Johnston – Jeff Johnston is a Canadian based jazz pianist, film composer, and educator. His works are infused with alluring harmonies, lush textures, rhythmic inventiveness and spontaneity. Chuck Berg of Jazz Times Magazine wrote “This is music, that while at the contemporary cutting edge, is both immediately and immensely satisfying.” Johnston’s trio and quartet recordings established him as one of the countries most respected pianists and composers, leading the Toronto Star’s Geoff Chapman to deem Johnston as “clearly in Canada’s top ranks” and the Globe and Mail’s Mark Miller to say ” This is Canadian jazz at it’s best”. Johnston has recorded and performed with some of the biggest names in jazz including John Abercrombie, Sheila Jordan, Dave Liebman and Kenny Wheeler. His film music has been heard on PBS, CBC-TV, CBC Newsworld, The Documentary Channel, Teletoons, CTV, Global TV and he has scored numerous films for the National Film Board of Canada.

Born and raised in a musical family in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Johnston went on to study piano and composition, first in Toronto with Don Thompson and Ted Moses, and eventually in New York City with renowned pianist and composer Richard Beirach where he studied between the years 1984 and 1990. He has twice been nominated for the Juno awards and the East Coast Music Awards. The recipient of numerous awards from the Canada Council, FACTOR, Heritage Canada and The Quebec Arts Council, Johnston received the Sound Symposium’s R. Murray Shafer award in 1984 and has been a finalist several times in the Montreal International Jazz Festival competition. He has performed at prestigious jazz festivals such as Umbria Jazz (Italy), Jazz à Juan Les Pins (France), Rochester International Jazz Festival (USA) and the Montreal International Jazz Festival (Canada). Along with his busy schedule of performing and composing, Johnston also teaches piano and ensembles at McGill University’s Schulich School of Music. He has conducted workshops and guest lectured at universities across Canada. Jeff will be performing with his long time colleagues Jim Vivian on bass and Michael Billard on drums.


Program Notes – Terra Nova Suite

When I first conceived of the Terra Nova Suite, I knew it wanted to be larger than just a jazz piano trio. I knew the music was calling to be orchestral in nature and while the Newfoundland landscape is majestic and larger than life, I did not hear this music as being epic. Instead, I heard the music as being organic and of the virgin land and sea. A sonic journey that captures the feel of the magnificent physical beauty and takes us to a timeless uninhabited undiscovered hinterland. I want the listener to hear the music as if it seeped out of the barrens of central Newfoundland, to smell and feel the mists of the Gros Morne fjords, to experience it as if amongst the permafrost of Northern Labrador and to capture the gentleness of the rolling hills of the Avalon. And then there is the ocean – vast, never-ending, unforgiving, sometimes desolate and lonely but always ever present – where life begins and where all things return.

I am so delighted that Marc David and the Newfoundland Sinfonia agreed to participate in this project. Along with my trio we will be presenting my new suite ‘about the land’ by musicians ‘of the land’. My deepest gratitude to all those who participated in bringing the Terra Nova Suite to life.


Jeff Johnston

Video of our Guest Artist