Jefferson Johnson

Dr. Jefferson Johnson

Jefferson Johnson is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Kentucky where he conducts the University Chorale and Men’s Chorus. He also teaches advanced choral conducting, choral methods and literature, and directs the graduate program (MM and DMA degrees) in choral music. A native of Atlanta, Johnson received the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia (magna cum laude, 1978), the Master of Music from the University of Tennessee (1981), and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado (1992), where in 2017 he was the third recipient of the “Distinguished Choral Alumnus Award.” While living in Atlanta, Johnson was a member of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus conducted by Robert Shaw.

University of Kentucky choirs under Johnson’s direction have performed at more than twenty conventions of choral music educators, including national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), Music Educators National Conference (MENC), and Intercollegiate Male Choruses (IMC). In March of 2017 Johnson’s graduate student, Cameron Weatherford, won first place in the ACDA National Conducting Competition. In December of 2013 the acoUstiKats, a select ensemble from the UK Men’s Chorus, were chosen as finalists on NBC’s a cappella competition “The Sing Off.”

Johnson is presently Music Director of the Lexington Singers. The 180-voice multi-generational community chorus annually performs major works with orchestras. The Singers have toured internationally, most recently to Spain, Brazil, France, Italy, and Austria.  In 2019 they will have a concert tour to South Africa.  In 2000 the chorus performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Vienna Mozart Orchestra in the famous Hofburg Palace and sang the evening mass at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. In 2003 the chorus performed in St. Marks Cathedral in Venice and sang mass at St. Peters Basilica in Vatican City. In 1999 the Lexington Singers celebrated its 40th anniversary with a performance in New York City as Johnson made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Singers and orchestra in Faure’s Requiem.  The Lexington Singers returned to Carnegie Hall in 2014 for an acclaimed performance with bluegrass super group “Dailey and Vincent.”

His instructional video “Ready…Set…Sing!” is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing and has been featured at music educators’ conventions from Ohio to Hawaii.  Johnson has an editorial series with Hinshaw Music and National Music Publishers. The University of Kentucky choral program is featured in a soon-to-be-published book called “Rehearsing the Choir.” His article The What, Why, and How of Young Adult Male Choirs appeared in the Choral Journal in 2012. Johnson maintains an active schedule as an adjudicator and guest conductor for high school and collegiate choirs throughout the United States. He has conducted honor choruses in 33 states and has appeared as a featured clinician at ACDA or NAfME conventions in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.