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Born 1963, Johanna Varner studied cello at the Munich Musikhochschule with Professor Kiskalt. In 1984 she won, with the Cudek-Quartett, the second price in the stringquartet contest in Bubenreuth. Later she studied at the David Oistrach Akademie Ingolstadt with Eldar Issakadze and followed a mastercourse with the Alban Berg quartet.

Since 1986 Johanna Varner is dedicated to improvised music. She is founding member of the International Composers and Improvisers Ensemble Munich (the ICI). She started the concertseries international meetings in Munich, granted by the Deutscher Musikrat. She performed with a great variety of musicians, among them F.M. Einheit (from the band Einst├╝rzende Neubauten), Ulrike Haage, Terry Ex, Phil Minton, Mary Crispell, George Lewis, Barry Guy and Markus Stockhausen.
She founded with Dutch drummer Han Bennink the Amm├╝ Quartett, and plays with violin and viola player Mary Oliver in the JOMO-duo. JOMO was granted by the "Initiative Musik". Thanks to a grant from the city of München Johanna Varner stayed for a period in Amsterdam to work with members of the ICP orchestra.

In 2010 she formed a duo with Dutch guitarplayer Dick Toering. In this duo a new approach in improvising is developed, based on classical and minimal music, and world music. With Dick Toering and double bass player Meinrad Kneer Johanna Varner plays as 'Klangwelt Station'. This trio recorded an album in 2014 (to be released).

As a classical cellist she played in orchestras under Leonard Bernstein and C. Poppen. In 2000 she founded the ensemble Laurier for contemporary music.

She plays on many recordings; CDs with Olga Neuwirth and William Parker were recorded by Bayerischer Rundfunk and released on NEOS.

In 2011 she made het first solo-CD, with instant composing and intriguing soundscapes, exploring the possibillities of the cello at full length.

2012 -2013 CDs with Klaus Treuheit, Dick Toering (Usquert) Dick Toering, Meinhard Knerr (Klangwelt Station) with Dick Toering as BOREAS DUO (music for a while) In 2019 she realeases a Solo CD with bach , Abel en Varner

Multi talented, Johanna Varner works as cello teacher, composer, writer, illostrator and photographer.