Richard Lawrence Johnson is Professor of Music at Coastal Carolina University. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts in conducting from Michigan State University and undergraduate and advances degrees in music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He has studied conducting with Harry Begian, Kenneth Bloomquist, Eugene Corporon, Bernard Goodman, 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.
As conductor, Johnson earned an international reputation for his interpretation of the music of composer David Rakowski, the 1995 Hedwig Van Amerigen Rome Prize recipient. Amoung 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, the Maryland Music Educators Association and the Arlington Echo Advanced String Orchestra Camps in Annapolis, Maryland. Johnson is also well known in the central Atlantic states as a conductor of contemporary music. He has received numerous accolades from composers for his premiere performances to include a chamber version of Act II Scene III of Peter Westergaard's opera The Tempest, James Syler's O Magnum Mysterium for solo soprano and wind ensemble, Beth Wiemann's The Shortness of All the Notes for ten winds and tape and Pater Noster by John Frantzen. By invitation he has also presented at the Ferenc Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary and at regional and national conferences of the College Band Directors National Association. In conjunction with Salisbury University's Access 26 Television Station, Dr. Johnson developed a series of television broadcast from SU Wind Ensemble concerts that that were viewed throughout the Maryland Eastern Shore, in Delaware and Virginia. These programs were sponsored in part by grant funding from the Charles and Martha Fulton Endowment.
Dr. Johnson has appeared as guest conductor in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin. While teaching in higher education, he has conducted over thirty all-county and regional high school festivals and intercollegiate band performances. He continues to maintain an extensive schedule as clinician, adjudicator and consultant in the fine arts.
Professiional memberships have included the Conductors Guild, CBDNA and MENC. He has served as member of regional CBDNA committees and he is past State president of CBDNA after fifteen years of service in Maryland. He is a lifetime member of the Percy Aldridge Grainger Society. 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's 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 is published in several state and regional professional journals. Dr. Johnson also lectures on topics of the Fine Arts. He is a honorary member of the Rho Nu chapter of the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity.