Professor of Instrumental Conducting
Conductor of Wind Symphony
Ed.D. - University of Illinois
Office: 84 Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center
Phone: (319) 273-6058
Ronald Johnson is conductor of the Wind Symphony and the Chamber Wind Players at the University of Northern Iowa, and holds the academic rank of Professor of Music. He received his formal education from Texas Tech University; California State University, Northridge, and the University of Illinois. His conducting teachers include David Whitwell, Harry Begian, and Mircea Cristescu (Romania). For the 2004-2005 academic year, he was the recipient of a Fulbright Senior Lecturer’s Award from the US Department of State, and was a Visiting Professor of Conducting at the University of Pécs in Hungary.
From 1972 until 1979, Johnson served as Director of Bands at Modesto Junior College in California where he developed one of the most distinguished two-year college band programs in the United States. Since arriving at the University of Northern Iowa, he has developed the Wind Symphony there into what is recognized as one of the premiere ensembles in the Midwest. In addition to his conducting duties at Northern Iowa, Johnson also serves Director of the Northern Festival of Bands, an annual event for some 250 public school conductors and student musicians. A new initiative, the Northern Iowa Band Invitational, is slated for its inaugural presentation in March of 2013. And, with the intention of providing a forum for the continuing musical education of wind conductors, Johnson has forged a relationship with the band conductors at Iowa State University, Drake University, and the University of Iowa to create the Iowa Band Conductors Forum. Its initial offering is scheduled for January of 2014.
Johnson has held national leadership roles in the College Band Directors National Association and has appeared as conductor or clinician in many parts of the United States. He has appeared as guest conductor in Switzerland, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden, China, Slovenia, Germany, Hong Kong, and Israel. He has presented masterclasses, lectures, and seminars at music conservatories, festivals, and conferences in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Hungary, and Israel, and has served as a member of the jury for international music festivals in Spain, Hungary, and Switzerland.
In 1993, 1996, and again in 2000, the Northern Iowa Wind Symphony traveled to Hungary for a series of concerts sponsored by the Hungarian Customs Administration (1993) and the Hungarian Wind Music Association (1996). Their performance in the Franz Liszt Academy of Music marked the first appearance ever by an American wind ensemble in that prestigious concert hall, and their live concert for Hungarian National Radio (1993) was heard by an estimated three million people! In 2004, the ensemble took its first visit to the northern part of Italy for a series of 5 concerts. In March of 2012, the Wind Symphony returned to Italy, performing 6 concerts in 7 days, and offered a 2-day conducting seminar for Italian conductors. The Wind Symphony has released four compact disc recordings: Memories (1994), Genesis (1995), Requiem (recorded in the Liszt Academy, 1996), and The Best of All Possible Worlds (2004).