J.B. Steane: ‘Take me to your Lieder’, Gramophone, lxxii/Aug (1994), 16–19
(b Athens, GA, 12 March 1888; d New York, 30 April 1970). American choral director and composer. He received his first music degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1910 and studied further at the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California. In 1934 he received an honorary DMus from the Philadelphia Music Academy. Johnson began his career as a violinist and violist, but turned to choral conducting in 1925 and organized the Hall Johnson Choir, which became famous. The most notable appearances of the choir were in the stage and film productions of The Green Pastures, in the film Lost Horizon, and at the 1951 International Festival of Fine Arts in Berlin.
Johnson’s principal works are the folk drama Run Little Chillun (1933), the cantata Son of Man (1946), the operetta Fi-Yer, several art songs and many spirituals arranged for solo voice or chorus.