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 a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Georgia (magna cum laude, 1978), a Master of Music degree from the University of Tennessee (1981), and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Colorado (1992). While living in Atlanta, Johnson was also 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 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). Most recently the UK Men’s Chorus was featured in performance at the 2015 ACDA National Convention in Salt Lake City, the 2013 NCCO National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina, the 2012 ACDA Southern Division Convention in Winston-Salem, and the 2011 ACDA National Convention in Chicago. In December of 2013 the acoUstiKats, a select ensemble from the UK Men’s Chorus, were chosen as semi-finalists on NBC’s a cappella competition “The Sing Off.”
The UK Chorale, a select mixed choir, has toured extensively with recent performances in Paris (Cathedral of Notre Dame, Chartres Cathedral, American Cathedral, and Cathedral of La Madeleine), Washington, D.C. (Kennedy Center), the Bahamas (private performance in the Presidential Palace), and New York City (Carnegie Hall). The Chorale has collaborated with numerous artists including The King Singers, violinist Mark O’Connor, the Boston Pops Orchestra, tenor Ronan Tynen, and acclaimed conductor/composer James Burton. In 2015 the UK Chorale became the first university choral ensemble in the world to perform the soundtrack for the ground-breaking film 2001: A Space Odyssey with music by Gyorgy Ligeti.
Johnson is presently Music Director of the Lexington Singers. The 180-voice community chorus annually performs major works with orchestras. The Singers have toured internationally, most recently to Spain, Brazil, France, Italy, and Austria. 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.
Dr. Johnson’s instructional video Ready...Set...Sing! is published by Santa Barbara Music Publishing. It has been featured at music educators’ conventions from Ohio to Hawaii. In addition, 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 over 30 states including the 2013 Texas TTBB All-State Chorus, the 2015 Florida TTBB All-State Chorus, and in 2016 the Minnesota TTBB All-State Chorus. In addition Johnson has appeared as a featured clinician at ACDA or MENC conventions in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Johnson has an editorial series with Hinshaw Music and National Music Publishers. His article "The What, Why, and How of Young Adult Male Choirs" appeared in the Choral Journal in 2012. He resides in Lexington, KY with his wife Karina and sons Kyler and Evan.