Craig Hella Johnson brings unparalleled depth of knowledge, artistic sensitivity, and rich imagination to his programs. He has earned a reputation as one of the finest choral conductors in the United States. Beloved by audiences, lauded by critics and composers, and revered by vocal and instrumental musicians, Johnson is known for crafting musical journeys that create deep connections between performers and listeners. Johnson is the Artistic Director and founder of Conspirare. In 2015, Johnson and Conspirare were awarded a Grammy® for Best Choral Performance for The Sacred Spirit of Russia. In 2013, Johnson was appointed Music Director of the Vocal Arts Ensemble in Cincinnati. Johnson is also Conductor Emeritus of the Victoria Bach Festival, where he previously served as conductor and Artistic Director from 1992-2015.
Johnson was Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas at Austin (1990-2001) and remains an active educator, teaching and giving workshops statewide, nationally, and internationally at conferences and universities. In fall 2012 he became the first Artist in Residence at the Texas State University School of Music. As composer, arranger, and music editor, Johnson works with G. Schirmer Publishing and Alliance Music Publications; his works have sold thousands of copies.
Johnson’s accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards including Chorus America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art. The Texas Legislature named him the Texas State Musician for 2013. Johnson studied at St. Olaf College, the Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois, and earned his doctorate at Yale University. Under the auspices of a National Arts Fellowship, he was a student of Helmuth Rilling at the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.