Heather MacLaughlin completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Minnesota in piano accompanying/coaching, as a student of Margo Garrett. She received Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Indiana University, where she studied with Enrica Cavallo-Gulli. A Suzuki piano instructor since 1985, Heather has taught at Suzuki institutes and workshops in Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado, Minnesota, and Lima, Peru. She has taught at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, and is currently a full time member of the music faculty at North Hennepin Community College.

Heather is one of the Twin Cities’ leading chamber music pianists, appearing regularly with members of both the Minnesota Orchestra and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. She has collaborated with, among others, Pinchas Zukerman, Cynthia Phelps (principal violist for the New York Philharmonic), and baritone David Malis. She has been heard on both Minnesota and National Public Radio as soloist and chamber musician. In 1998, Heather and her husband, classical guitarist Alan Johnston, represented Minnesota on the Millennium concert series at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. As a member of the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo with violinist Leslie Shank, she was the recipient of a 1996 grant from the General Mills, Dayton Hudson and Jerome Foundations for travel to Hungary to study and perform the Bartók Sonatas for violin and piano. In 1997, the Shank-MacLaughlin Duo was a winner of the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians. Their CD of the Bartók sonatas for violin and piano was released in 1999 on the Centaur label.