ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AND CONDUCTOR
Dr. Ben Johns
Dr. Ben Johns was named Artistic Director of the Torrance Civic Chorale in 2019, shortly after completing coursework for a doctorate in conducting at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. From 2003-2016, he worked with the professional vocal ensemble, Chanticleer, as a tenor and as their Director of Education. Dr. Johns established Chanticleer’s first National Youth Choral Festival in 2010, a project which involved over 500 high school musicians from Virginia to Hawaii, saw the birth of Chanticleer’s elite LAB Choir program, and culminated in a series of performances at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, CA. Under his direction, Chanticleer’s education program won Chorus America’s Education Outreach Award.
As Chanticleer’s Director of Education, Dr. Johns gave roughly 600 master classes to elementary through college and community choruses. He was artistic director of the San Francisco-based women’s ensemble, Musae, from 2012-2016. He also directed ensembles at UC Davis, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, UC Irvine, and for Sonoma Bach, Clerestory, the SFUSD All-City Music Festival, and the Sing With Haiti Benefit Concert. In January 2019, Dr. Johns was named co-director of the Irvine-based choral ensemble, the Men in Blaque.
Dr. Johns has sung professionally at venues around the world, including the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Paris Consulate, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, National Theater Taipei, Davies Symphony Hall, The Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. In addition to his tenure with Chanticleer, he has sung with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, American Bach Soloists, San Francisco Renaissance Voices, Seraphic Fire, and Clerestory. His music recording appearances include Chanticleer’s Our Favorite Carols, Best of Chanticleer, Sound in Spirit, and Seraphic Fire’s Messiah Live. Dr. Johns has performed as bass soloist for Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy, Pacific Symphony’s Symphony in the Cities concerts, and for Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and Cantatas 8, 21, and 140. He is currently an auxiliary member of the Los Angeles Master Chorale, having sung Mahler’s 2nd and 8th symphonies with Gustavo Dudamel directing.
[From 1985-1999, he performed in a combined twenty-two productions with Sacramento Opera, Sacramento Theater Company, and Sacramento Music Circus. In 2002, he danced with the Anaheim Ballet and as a principal dancer for The Glory of Christmas at the Crystal Cathedral.]
Dr. Johns holds degrees in Chemistry, Dance, Vocal Performance, and Choral Conducting. In 2002, he won the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for his Honors Thesis, Exploring the Neurobiological Basis for the Effect of Movement on the Voice: Quantifying Dalcroze-Type Methods. In 2004, he presented the same topic at the American Association of Physics Teachers Conference at CSU, Sacramento. He authored Small Town, Big Prize: Building the Audience for the MostArts Festival for The Eastman Case Studies Journal in 2018. Between Eastman and UC Irvine, Dr. Johns has taught basic conducting, voice lessons, aural skills, advanced choral conducting, and music history. He has also taught private voice lessons since 2003.