Arwen Johnston studied at the Victorian College of Arts and has completed a postgraduate degree in Amsterdam, Holland. As a diverse freelance percussionist and educator, Arwen works with a variety of regular ensembles as well as on individual projects. She is principal timpanist with Melbourne Opera Company and the baroque ensemble, Concentus Australis. She performs regularly with the Australian Philharmonic and recently toured Australia and New Zealand with Andrea Bocelli and Delta Goodrem. She is a casual performer with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, Gloriana choir and Alpha Sinfonia. In Asia, Arwen has performed with the Macau Orchestra.
She is involved in regular composition workshops as part of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Outreach/Artplay programs and is a dedicated tutor and educator at three of Melbourne's top private schools. Arwen has toured Australia with rock legends Roger Daltrey and Alice Cooper and has performed with comedian Jerry Lewis. She performs regularly in baroque/classical orchestras using period instruments and has toured Australia with the Australian Mozart Orchestra. Arwen has toured Europe with Bartok's Concerto for 2 Pianos & Percussion, Shostakovich's lost film score, Odna, and with the Geminiani Orchestra. During her time in Amsterdam, Arwen founded the percussion group Spǽnge, performed with Transcenturia and Opera Minora, was percussionist with the musical Grace and collaborates regularly with designers and artists.
Arwen has performed various concerti, has had numerous works written for her and has recorded music for film soundtracks, orchestras, composers and rock bands both in Australia and Europe and recorded music for the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.