Richard Lawrence Johnson is Professor of Music and conductor to the Symphonic Band and Coastal Winds at Coastal Carolina University. Previously he served on the faculty at Salisbury University as an Arts administrator and director of instrumental ensembles. He has ten years of public school teaching to include Crystal Lake Central High School and the renowned George Nelson Tremper High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While teaching in Illinois he also served as conductor to Crystal Lake Community Band and director to the famed Heraldry Guard Summer Recreation Program.
Dr. Johnson has earned an international reputation for his interpretation of music of composer David Rakowski, the 1995 Hedwig Van Amerigen Rome Prize recipient. Among numerous guest-conducting engagements, notable appearances include the American Academy of Rome, the United States Naval Academy Chamber Music Series with Chief Musician Marcia Diehl and the Maryland Music Educators Association. His orchestral experience includes the Arlington Echo Advanced String Orchestra Camps in Annapolis, Maryland as well as the Salisbury Symphony Community Orchestra. He has received numerous accolades from composers for his performances of music by John Frantzen, James Syler, David Rakowski, Peter Westergaard and Beth Wiemann.
Dr. Johnson has also appeared as guest conductor in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin. He has conducted over thirty all-county, regional high school festivals and intercollegiate band performances. He continues to maintain an extensive schedule as clinician, adjudicator and consultant in the fine arts.
While traveling throughout Europe in 1996, he was invited to present at the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary during his weeklong research visit to the National Széchényi Library. His interaction with composers Kamillo Lenvay and Frigyes Hidas also produced a concerto for solo Euphonium and Band. Other research travel has taken him to Genoa, Lucca, Milan, Pisa and Turin visiting with conservatory administration and touring the famed Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory and a backstage walk-through with performers of Teatro alla Scala. In Cremona, he spent a week visiting with noted Italian wind historian Giovanni Ligassachi, while conducting research at the Biblioteca Statale di Cremona and touring the Museo del Violino.
Sponsored in part by a grant from the Charles and Martha Fulton Endowment Dr. Johnson developed a series of television concert broadcasts with the Salisbury University Wind Ensemble. During 2002 to 2003, in conjunction with Access 26 Television Station, these broadcasts were viewed throughout the Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware and eastern Virginia.
He has served as member of regional CBDNA committees and he is past State president of Maryland CBDNA with fifteen years of service in this position. He has served on numerous session panels, presenting at regional and national conferences of the College Band Directors National Association.
Dr. Johnson is also past president of the Maryland Council for Higher Education in Music, and has served as representative to both South Carolina and Maryland Higher Education Executive Council. He has served on executive boards for State Arts Councils, Maryland Music Educators Association, and State Student Transfer Advisory Council for MHEC and the Maryland ICAO Fine Arts Discipline Group Task Force. He remains a lifetime member of the Percy Aldridge Grainger Society. He is published in several state and regional professional journals. Dr. Johnson also lectures on a variety of topics in the Fine Arts. He is also an honorary member of the Rho Nu chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.
Dr. Johnson holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from Michigan State University and undergraduate and advances degrees in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He is grateful for support, guidance and inspiration from many individuals throughout his career. Among those are Harry Begian, Kenneth Bloomquist, Eugene Corporon, Bernard Goodman, Ronald W. Johnson, Paul Vermel and David Whitwell. Since 1994 he has also held administrative positions as chairperson at Salisbury University and Coastal Carolina University as well as associate provost of graduate studies.
Richard and his wife Amanda have residences in Myrtle Beach and Pemaquid Point, Maine. They enjoy golf together, international travel, restoring their 100 year-old Maine cottage and catering to their solo cat, Simon.