Craig Hella Johnson

Craig Morris Hella Johnson (born June 15, 1962 in Crow Wing County, Minnesota)[1] is an American choral conductor, composer, and arranger.

Craig Hella Johnson
Birth nameCraig Morris Johnson
BornJune 15, 1962
Crow Wing County, Minnesota, US
Genreschoral, contemporary music, classical music
Occupation(s)composer, conductor, educator, arranger
Associated actsConspirare, Chanticleer

Life and careerEdit

Craig Morris Johnson was born on June 15, 1962 in Crow Wing County, Minnesota to Morris Melvin Johnson (1929-2015) and Marjorie Kathryn (Danielson) Johnson (b. 1931).[2] He and one of his sisters adopted the name Hella, after the village in Norway that their family came from.[3]

Originally from Minnesota,[4] he studied piano and sang in the St. Olaf Choir at St. Olaf College,[5] graduating in 1984.[6] He went on to study at Juilliard, the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and Yale University, from which he received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree.[7]

He founded and is the artistic director of the group Conspirare.[7] He is also the artistic director of the Victoria Bach Festival and in 1998-1999 was the artistic director of Chanticleer,[8] the second person to hold that position (after founder Louis Botto).[5] In January 2001, Johnson was named director of the Houston Masterworks Chorus, a position he held for two years.[9]

Johnson serves as Resident Artist in Choral Music at Texas State University[7] and previously spent eight years as director of choral activities for The University of Texas.[5]

In April 2013, Johnson was named the 2013 Texas State Musician, the second classical musician to receive the honor.[10][11] In May 2013 Johnson was named Music Director/Conductor of Vocal Arts Ensemble in Cincinnati, Ohio.

On February 8, 2015 he and Conspirare won the Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for their album The Sacred Spirit of Russia (Harmonia mundi HMU 807526).

He lives in Austin, TX with his partner, architect Philip Overbaugh.[12]


  1. ^ "n". Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ "Craig Morris Johnson in the Minnesota Birth Index, 1935-2002". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Things I've Learned: Craig Hella Johnson".
  4. ^ Faires, Robert. "Tomorrow the World: Craig Hella Johnson's company of voices has long been world-class; now the world is hearing it" June 20, 2008, The Austin Chronicle
  5. ^ a b c Kosman, Joshua "A New Voice for Chanticleer / Craig Hella Johnson sees men's chorus as a model organization" April 5, 1998, SFGate
  6. ^ Photo: Craig Hella Johnson '84 Archived 2010-07-07 at the Wayback Machine St. Olaf College Image Library
  7. ^ a b c Faculty bio Texas State University
  8. ^ Chorus America biography Archived 2015-01-11 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Miller, Margaret. "On Mozart, Pilates, and Marisa Tomei". Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  10. ^ Eddy, Melissa "Craig Hella Johnson, Artistic Director of Conspirare, Named Texas State Musician for 2013" Archived 2015-01-11 at the Wayback Machine May 2, 2013, ChoralNet (American Choral Directors Association)
  11. ^ Current State Artists Texas Commission on the Arts
  12. ^ Gelfland, Janelle. "Guest conductor fell in love with city, singers". Retrieved 18 November 2017.

External linksEdit