Thor Johnson

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Thor Johnson

Thor Martin Johnson (June 10, 1913 – January 16, 1975) was an American conductor. He was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. He studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was president of the Alpha Rho chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity. He was the first recipient of the fraternity's national Charles E. Lutton Man of Music Award in 1952. A member of the Moravian Church, he was deeply devoted to promoting the music of his faith and was invited to organize and conduct the Early American Moravian Music Festivals from 1950 to 1974. He was an initiate of the Alpha Xi chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

Conducting Directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures

Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance, such as an orchestral or choral concert. It has been defined as "the art of directing the simultaneous performance of several players or singers by the use of gesture." The primary duties of the conductor are to interpret the score in a way which reflects the specific indications in that score, set the tempo, ensure correct entries by ensemble members, and "shape" the phrasing where appropriate. Conductors communicate with their musicians primarily through hand gestures, usually with the aid of a baton, and may use other gestures or signals such as eye contact. A conductor usually supplements their direction with verbal instructions to their musicians in rehearsal.

Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin City in Wisconsin, United States

Wisconsin Rapids is a city in and the county seat of Wood County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 18,367 at the 2010 census.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, also known as UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, or simply Carolina is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It is the flagship of the 17 campuses of the University of North Carolina system. After being chartered in 1789, the university first began enrolling students in 1795, which also allows it to be one of three schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the United States. Among the claimants, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one to have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

From 1940 to 1942, he was music director of the Grand Rapids Symphony in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which was a community orchestra at the time. In 1947 he was appointed conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the youngest American born conductor of a major American orchestra at that time. That same year, Johnson was named the first Music Director of the Ojai Music Festival in Ojai, California. He served in that capacity from 1947–1950 and again from 1952–53.

The Grand Rapids Symphony is a professional orchestra located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. Founded in 1930, the Symphony is in its 89th season in 2018-19. In 2006, its recording Invention and Alchemy was nominated for Best Classical Crossover Album at the Grammy Awards. The Grands Rapids Symphony presents more than 400 performances throughout Michigan each year, reaching over 200,000 people, and is heard in West Michigan on broadcasts by WBLU-FM (88.9) and WBLV-FM (90.3). The organization also implements 18 educational and access programs that benefit over 80,000 Michigan residents.

Grand Rapids, Michigan City in Michigan, United States

Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan and the largest city in West Michigan. It is on the Grand River about 30 miles (48 km) east of Lake Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 188,040. In 2010, the Grand Rapids metropolitan area had a population of 1,005,648, and the combined statistical area of Grand Rapids-Muskegon-Holland had a population of 1,321,557. Grand Rapids is the county seat of Kent County.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Its primary concert venue is Music Hall. In addition to its symphony concerts, the orchestra gives 'pops' concerts as the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Cincinnati Symphony is the resident orchestra for the Cincinnati May Festival, the Cincinnati Opera, and the Cincinnati Ballet.

He visited Jean Sibelius on the personal invitation of the composer's oldest daughter, Eva Sibelius Paloheimo, in the Summer of 1951 at his home Ainola (since 1972 a national museum in Järvenpää, Finland). In 1952, he was the first recipient of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity's American Man of Music Award.

Jean Sibelius Finnish composer

Jean Sibelius, born Johan Julius Christian Sibelius, was a Finnish composer and violinist of the late Romantic and early-modern periods. He is widely recognized as his country's greatest composer and, through his music, is often credited with having helped Finland to develop a national identity during its struggle for independence from Russia.

Ainola home of Aino and Jean Sibelius in Järvenpää, Finland

Ainola, meaning "Aino's Place", was the home of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, his wife Aino and their family from the autumn of 1904 until 1972. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1974. Ainola stands on the scenic shores of Lake Tuusulanjärvi in Järvenpää, 38 kilometres north of Helsinki, the Finnish capital. It was designed by the famous architect Lars Sonck. The only requests Sibelius had for Sonck were to include both a lakefront view and a green fireplace in the dining room. Water pipes were never installed until after Sibelius' death because he did not want the distraction while he was there composing.

Järvenpää Municipality and town in Uusimaa, Finland

Järvenpää is a town and municipality of Finland.

In 1953-54, Johnson made a series of early stereophonic recordings, primarily with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, for Remington Records. [1]

Remington Records was a low budget record label. It existed from 1950 until 1957 and specialized in classical music. Unfortunately, the discs suffered from considerable surface noise.

From 1958 to 1964, Johnson was a full professor and director of orchestral activities at Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois. Johnson was appointed director of the Interlochen Arts Academy and conductor of the Interlochen Arts Academy Symphony Orchestra from 1964 to 1967. He founded the Peninsula Music Festival in 1952 that still plays every August in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. He is especially well regarded for the dozens of first performances that he personally commissioned and conducted.[ citation needed ]

Northwestern University Private research university in Illinois, United States

Northwestern University (NU) is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois, United States, with other campuses located in Chicago and Doha, Qatar, and academic programs and facilities in Miami, Florida; Washington, D.C.; and San Francisco, California. Along with its selective undergraduate programs, Northwestern is known for its Kellogg School of Management, Pritzker School of Law, Feinberg School of Medicine, Bienen School of Music, Medill School of Journalism, and McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Fish Creek, Wisconsin Unincorporated community in Wisconsin, United States

Fish Creek is an unincorporated community located in Door County, Wisconsin, United States, within the town of Gibraltar and is located on Highway 42 along Green Bay.

He was a National Patron of Delta Omicron, an international professional music fraternity. [2]

Delta Omicron Professional honor fraternity for music

Delta Omicron (ΔΟ) is a co-ed international professional music honors fraternity whose mission is to promote and support excellence in music and musicianship.

From 1967 to 1975, Johnson was music director for the Nashville Symphony in Nashville, Tennessee. Upon his death in 1975, Johnson was buried in God's Acre, the Moravian cemetery in the historic Old Salem area of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

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References

  1. http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/remjohnson.html
  2. Delta Omicron Archived 2010-01-27 at the Wayback Machine