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Guest Performer

Guest Performer Biography: Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson

By December 6, 2023January 16th, 2024No Comments
Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson playing clarinet

With his career having spanned several continents, British Clarinettist, Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson has made appearances at the Adelaide Festival – South Australia and Edinburgh International Festival – United Kingdom, with Chineke! Chamber Ensemble. Here he collaborated on and performed new commissions with native First Nations artists William Barton and Deborah Cheetham, combining indigenous soundscapes and improvisation within a western chamber music setting as well as two full programmes of chamber music including works by Prokofiev, Coleridge-Taylor, Rheinberger, Martinů and others. 

His versatility extends to the fashion world collaborating with Gustavo Dudamel; Tyler, the Creator; Benji B and Arthur Verocai to realise Virgil Abloh’s final LV collection in Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall-Winter Fashion Show 2022, Paris. 

His versatility and skills have seen him return to the esteemed televised BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with Chineke! Orchestra and with Nu Civilisation Orchestra, Tomorrow’s Warriors flagship ensemble. He appeared with Grammy-nominated jazz pianist, Monty Alexander and founding bassist, Gary Crosby to revive Duke Ellington’s seldom-heard Sacred Concerts. In his further endeavours as a multi-instrumentalist, Mebrakh made his debut at the Berlin JazzFest and London Jazz Festival with distinguished trio, Jason Moran and the Bandwagon on clarinet, flute and piccolo exploring the music of James Reese Europe and the Harlem Hellfighters. Additionally, he is a sought-after presence in the world of theatre on and off London’s West End. He can be spotted on-screen performing in the movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era.

He was thrilled to make his debut on the American stage at both the iconic Carnegie Hall as Principal Clarinettist with the Juilliard Orchestra and at Radio City Music Hall with Barry Manilow and his Orchestra with some of Broadway’s finest instrumentalists. 

 Mebrakh has performed as a soloist with Kensington Symphony Orchestra and with Chineke! Chamber Ensemble at Wigmore Hall, Kings’ Place and Petworth Festival. 

In 2024, Mebrakh will join multifaceted conductor Damien Sneed, in a celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., performing David Baker’s virtuosic Jazz Suite for Clarinet and Orchestra: Three Ethnic Dances with Springfield Symphony Orchestra.

 A strong advocate of diversity & inclusion in performance and education, Mebrakh regularly engages in outreach projects, internationally, with Chineke! Orchestra. He has taught clarinet, saxophone, flute and oboe at multiple institutions across London. Through his Juilliard Morse Fellowship, he works to provide music education to underserved communities across New York City. Mebrakh was the 22-23 Clarinet Fellow with Juilliard’s Music Advancement Programme for whom he has created several policy proposals and resources.

 Mebrakh has been integral in creating changes throughout the artistic programming and curriculum of the Royal College of Music, with regards to EDIB. He worked to amend the undergraduate and postgraduate performance syllabi and exam requirements for each specialism to promote the inclusion and further discovery of music by Black, Asian and ethnically diverse composers, and female composers. He also created a detailed weekly newsletter sharing the experiences and repertoire of these composers with students and faculty. 

 In October 2020, Mebrakh worked with fellow students to produce and direct Royal College of Music’s inaugural Black History Month celebration, showcasing works by black composers, in concert. 

He created a student-curated summer festival celebrating works by diverse and underrepresented composers, at Royal College of Music, later named ‘FestivALL’. It is now featured as part of the Great Exhibition Road Festival – in partnership with Imperial College London – where he was invited to deliver a speech at the Natural History Museum on his career and achievements.

 Mebrakh is currently studying with Anthony McGill, at The Juilliard School — where he is a recipient of the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship. He is also supported in this endeavour by the Royal Philharmonic Society: Julius Isserlis Scholarship and The Munster Trust. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Royal College of Music, London, as a Robey Scholar, graduating with the highest distinction of First Class Honours.

Outside of his musical pursuits, Mebrakh is an avid traveller who enjoys immersing himself in different cultures, languages, and cuisines. His current favourite dishes include chicken buss-up shirt and duck confit.