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Craig Hella Johnson

Director

Craig Johnson

Renowned as one of the most influential voices in choral conducting in the United States, Craig Hella Johnson brings a depth of knowledge, artistic sensitivity and imagination to his programs. Founder and Artistic Director of the Grammy Award-Nominated choral ensemble Conspirare, Johnson has assembled some of the finest singers in the country to create a world class, award-winning ensemble committed to creating dynamic choral art.

In addition to his work with Conspirare, Johnson also serves as Music Director Laureate and Conductor of the Victoria Bach Festival, an annual event that draws musicians and critical praise from around the country. Of Johnson's performance of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, Mike Greenberg of the San Antonio Express-News wrote: "Through all the amazing ebbs and flows of dynamics, the radiant balances, the seamless connection of episodes, the theatrically astute tempo relations, the unified structural arc, the music shone forth with organic naturalness. Nothing sounded fussed over. Everything just sounded right."

Johnson served as Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas in Austin from 1990 to 2001 leading the graduate program in conducting. He was Artistic Director of San Francisco-based Chanticleer from 1998-1999 and has served as guest conductor with the Austin Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Chicago's Music of the Baroque, and the Berkshire Choral Festival. In 2008, Johnson was inducted into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame.

Praised by audiences and critics, Johnson's programs are hailed as thought-provoking musical journeys. One unique aspect of Johnson's programming is his signature "collage" style: through-composed programs that marry music and poetry to seamlessly blend the sacred and secular as well as the classical and contemporary. In 2006, he was engaged to create a special peace-themed collage program for the North Central ACDA convention. He was also engaged by the St. Olaf Choir to create and conduct a collage program during a five-week residency with the choir in the spring of 2007.

A composer and arranger, Johnson is an editor with G. Schirmer Publishing and is working on a choral series featuring specially selected composers, as well as some of his original compositions and arrangements. His works are also published by Alliance Music Publications.

A native of Minnesota, Johnson studied at St. Olaf College, the Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois and earned his doctorate at Yale University. As the recipient of a National Arts Fellowship, Johnson studied with Helmuth Rilling at the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.

Discography

Displaying 1-5 of 5 items.


Conspirare : A Company of Voices : 00  1 CD : Craig Hella Johnson :  : HMU 907534

Conspirare : A Company of Voices

Review: This CD captures the exquisite sound of the choral ensemble Conspirare, as heard on a live national television broadcast. In this one-hour concert, contemporary music blends seamlessly with classical favorites, taking the listener and viewer on a journey of innovative sound, vibrant images and thought-provoking ideas.

Songlist: Sure on This Shining Night, Let the River Run, The Water is Wide, Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?, Will There Really Be a "Morning"?, Light of a Clear Blue Morning, Collage, Agnus Dei, Deep River , Gabriel's Oboe, Soneto de la Noche, When I Fall in Love, What If , Requiem , 1000 Beautiful Things, Triptych, I Love You , The First of My Lovers

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9125c 00 1 CD $18.95


Conspirare : Requiem : 00  2 CDs : Craig Hella Johnson :  : HMU 807518

Conspirare : Requiem

Review: Conspirare's second studio recording, Requiem, was recorded at The Bank Music Hall in Troy, New York in October 2005, and the CD has already received rave reviews most recently the 2005 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, presented by Chorus America. The album includes Howells' and Pizzetti's Requiems and some lovely, forlorn songs. Also a requiem from Austin's Eliza Gilkyson. "This is simply gorgeous choral singing - The Choir achieves near-perfect interpretive consensus and vocal enaemble, with stiletto-sharp intonation and unearthly tonal beauty." - American Rocoed Guide. "Sublime. Conspirare's "Requiem: We are so lightly here" flies on the wings of perfection.

Songlist: Requiem, Salvatore Mundi, Psalm 23, Requiem Aeternam, Psalm 121, Requiem Aeternam, I Heard A Voice From Heaven, Three Songs Of Faith, I Will Wade Out, Hope, Faith, Life, Love, I Thank You God For Most This Amazing Day, We Remember hem, Be Music, Night, Requiem, Dies Sanctus, Agnus Dei , Libera Me, The Road Home, Requiem

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7978c 00 2 CDs $18.98


Conspirare : Sing Freedom!

Review: One of the seminal American musical traditions, the spiritual is dramatic, powerful, and profoundly beautiful - the bedrock for much of American music that was to follow. Craig Hella Johnson and Conspirare explore here the genre's wide range of expression and its eloquence in speaking to universal aspects of the human condition.

Songlist: Motherless Child, A City Called Heaven, Soon Ah Will Be Done / I Wanna Die Easy, Soon Ah Will Be Done, Hard Trials, Hold On, Been In De Storm / Wayfaring Stranger, Oh Graveyard, Ain'-a That Good News!, Steal Away, Walk Together, Children, I Got A Home In-a Dat Rock, Lily Of The Valley, Plenty Good Room, My God Is A Rock, Freedom Song, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

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5983c 00 SACD $17.95 Spirituals CDs


Conspirare : Threshold of Night

Review: In the 2007 season, Conspirare captivated audiences with concerts of works by the phenomenally gifted (and award-winning) young composer Tarik O'Regan. Now the Grammy-nominated choral ensemble is set to captivate audiences across the globe with a recording of those same works by O'Regan. This is a recording worthy of attention. A single listen confirms the impression from last year's concerts that this choir and composer are exquisitely matched. Conductor Craig Hella Johnson and his company of voices have the skill to voice all the colors in O'Regan's richly varied musical palette: the densely clustered voices that pull at one another in tense dissonance here and resolve in sumptuous harmonies there, the rhythms that rocket a song along or ease it into a blissful peace. Moreover, they have a feel for the material, for its drama and intensity and the deep spiritual dimension at its foundation. O'Regan, a 30-year-old British composer now living in New York, crafts his own truly original style. Yes, this music is essentially tonal, but hardly could you characterize it as traditionally melodic. O'Regan's music layers voices with brilliant intricacy. Voices cluster seamlessly in full choir, then emerge in delicate solos. He deftly combines airy melodies with only short moments of subtle dissonance to a powerful effect.

Songlist: Had I Not Seen The Sun, The Ecstasies Above, Threshold Of Night, Tal Vez Tenemos Tiempo, Care Charminge Sleepe, Triptych 1. Threnody, Triptych 2. As We Remember Them, Triptych 3. From Heaven Distilled a Clemency, I Had No Time To Hate

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8932c 00 SACD $19.95


Conspirare : A Company of Voices : DVD : Craig Hella Johnson :  : 9907535

Conspirare : A Company of Voices

Review: This DVD capture the exquisite sound of the American choral group Conspirare, as heard and seen on a nationally televised, one-hour concert airing nationally on PBS. Repertoire on the disc ranges from classical works by Lauridsen and Whitacre to arrangements of popular songs by Carly Simon and Dolly Parton. Taped live in October 2008 at Austin's Long Center for the Performing Arts, A Company of Voices - Conspirare in Concert is a production of KLRU-TV, Austin, Texas, with executive producers Dick Peterson and Marion Lear Swaybill and director Karen McLaughlin.

Songlist: Sure on This Shining Morning, Let the River Run, The Water is Wide, Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?, Will There Really be a "Morning"?, Light of a Clear Blue Morning, Agnus Dei, Gabriel's Oboe, Soneto de la Noche, What If, Requiem, 1000 Beautiful Things, Tryptych, I Love You/ What a Wonderful World, The First of My Lovers

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9024dvd DVD $21.95 Choral Performance DVDs

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