Kelly Johnson Releases New CD

CONWAY — Kelly Johnson, principal clarinetist for the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and associate professor of clarinet at the University of Central Arkansas, has released a new CD titled “Child’s Play”.

The CD is full of music she has commissioned and has enjoyed throughout her career and most importantly was inspired by her young son, Aaron, 8.

“All of the pieces have something to do with a story, song or dance.” Johnson said.

Several of the pieces were written for the CD.

Songs on the CD include pieces by Eric Mandat (“The Moon in My Window”), Rodney Rogers (“Dance Duo”), J.M. David (“Distrocto”), Philip Parker (“Merry Music”, “Grooves”, “Story Hour”), and Dejan Despic (“9 Dances”).

“One of the pieces, ‘Moon in My Window,’ was written for my son.” Johnson said. “It takes you through a day in the life of a child.”

The piece was inspired by the children’s book by Crocket Johnson titled Harold and the Purple Crayon.

“The song titled ‘Distrocto’ was written for the CD and is based on a student’s drawings,” Johnson said. “The composer was teaching at a public elementary school at the time and there was a student there that did these really interesting graphic drawings, and it inspired the piece.”

The idea for the CD came after an international performance by Johnson.

“I had just performed ‘Grooves,’ one of the pieces on the CD, in Japan, and it was well received,” Johnson said. “It occurred to me that it would be fun to put together several pieces that had something to do with a story, song or a dance. As a mother of a young child, the idea appealed to me.”

For more information, visit to hear clips of the pieces. The CD may be bought there for $16.95. Johnson also has copies for sale; contact her at (501) 450-5758 or

“It’s a very personal project and special to me because my son was the inspiration,” she said.