Conspirare Press Kit

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Craig Hella Johnson

Craig Hella Johnson is the founding artistic director and conductor of Conspirare and music director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble. Known for crafting thought-provoking musical journeys that create deep connections between performers and listeners, Johnson is in frequent demand as a guest conductor of choral and orchestral works. Johnson joined the faculty at Texas State University as Artist in Residence in fall 2016 and was awarded the 2022 Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarly/Creative Activities. He is a published composer and arranger, guest conductor and educator. Johnson’s first concert-length composition Considering Matthew Shepard was premiered and recorded by Conspirare for a 2016 CD release. Considering Matthew Shepard continues to be performed around the world, most recently in Berlin and around the United States. Johnson’s accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards and honors. Notably among them, he and Conspirare won a 2014 Grammy® for Best Choral Performance, Chorus America awarded him the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art in 2015, and the Texas State Legislature named him Texas State Musician for 2013. In 2021, the Matthew Shepard Foundation recognized him with the Dennis Dougherty Award for Community Leadership.



Conspirare is a professional choral organization under the leadership of Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson. Inspired by the power of music to change lives, this ensemble engages singers from around the world who join voices to deliver world-class, extraordinary live musical experiences and recordings. Their discography includes 14 commercial albums and 20 self-produced live albums. Johnson and Conspirare were awarded a 2014 Grammy® for Best Choral Performance for The Sacred Spirit of Russia and their recordings have received 10 total nominations. The Singing Guitar, was nominated for a 2022 Best Choral Performance GRAMMY® and features music of Nico Muhly, Kile Smith, Reena Esmail and Craig Hella Johnson. Conspirare has performed throughout the United States and internationally, including appearances as a featured choir at the American Choral Directors Association annual conference and regional ACDA conventions. At home, Conspirare performs a full annual season in Austin where it has received ongoing recognition from local organizations and critics. Conspirare has been the subject of PBS documentaries and was awarded a Texas Medal of Arts and garnered international recognition such as the Dutch Edison Award. The group is also committed to an ongoing outreach program which includes free community Big Sings. The organization also includes the Conspirare Symphonic Choir, a large, auditioned ensemble that performs works for chorus, often with instrumental ensemble.


The following files are approved for press use. Please credit the photographer(s).

Conspirare, Photo Credit: Cassandra Weyendt

Conspirare, Photo Credit: Cassandra Weyendt

Conspirare Symphonic Choir

Craig Hella Johnson headshot, Photo Credit: Cassandra Weyendt

Craig Hella Johnson, Photo Credit: Cassandra Weyendt

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