Dirk Johnson


Dirk Johnson is the Artistic Director of the Charleston Civic Chorus and Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at West Virginia State University. He holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting with a cognate in composition from the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, a Master's degree in Music Education from Brigham Young University, and a Bachelor's degree in Choral Music Education, magna cum laude, from Brigham Young University. His conducting mentors include Earl Rivers, Dale Warland, Richard Sparks, Ronald Staheli, and Mark Gibson.


At WVSU Dr. Johnson conducts the Concert Choir and the State Singers vocal ensemble. He also maintains a voice studio, serves as vocal director for WVSU musical productions, and teaches courses in conducting, vocal pedagogy, and music education methods. Before coming to WVSU, Dr. Johnson was a visiting professor of conducting at the University of Virginia and taught also at Timpanogos High School and Pleasant Grove Junior High School near Salt Lake City, Utah.

Dr. Johnson is an active choral singer and soloist. He sang for two seasons with the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati, the region's premiere professional chorus, and performed with Cincinnati's acclaimed May Festival Chorus. He currently sings with the Tennessee Chamber Choir, a professional choir that performs in Cleveland, Chattanooga, and Knoxville. He frequently performs as tenor soloist with the West Virginia Symphony Chorus and as vocal soloist on WVSU's annual Faculty Recital.

An active composer and arranger, Dr. Johnson has received recent commissions from the Charleston Civic Chorus, Edgewood College Chamber Choir, College of Idaho Chamber Singers and Chorale, and WomanSong Chorale based in Charleston, WV. He also regularly writes and arranges pieces for his choirs at WVSU. He has attended the American Choral Directors Association 2010 Composer's Forum at Lehigh University, the 2013 Melody Studies Workshop with acclaimed choral arranger and composer Alice Parker, and the 2015 John Ness Beck Foundation Composer Seminar, where he was honored as winner of the 2015 John Ness Beck Foundation Award for composition of traditional sacred choral music.

Dr. Johnson's current scholarly research focuses on American folksong source materials and their implications for choral arranging. He has been awarded two WVSU Faculty Development Grants to investigate Southern Appalachian folksong sources and the Sacred Harp singing tradition, resulting in six new choral arrangements informed by this research. He has presented sessions on American folksong collections at the 2013 National NCCO Conference, the 2015 National ACDA Conference, and at the 2013 and 2014 WVACDA Conferences. As an active member of ACDA, he is currently serving as the West Virginia ACDA President.