Craig Hella Johnson has been honored with numerous awards, including 2008 induction into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame, Chorus America’s 2009 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal, and the 2011 Citation of Merit from professional music fraternity Mu Phi Epsilon, the organization’s highest honor for a non-member. In 2012 he was an invited speaker for TEDxAustin. He was one of seven panelists for the Fetzer Institute and Eranos Foundation’s “Love and the Musical Arts” gathering in Switzerland in 2011. In April 2013 Johnson was designated the official Texas State Musician for 2013 by the Texas Legislature. As a choral conductor, Johnson was awarded the 2015 Best Choral Performance Grammy® for Conspirare's CD The Sacred Spirit of Russia (Harmonia Mundi label). In June 2015 Johnson received The Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, Chorus America’s lifetime achievement award.
A unique aspect of Johnson’s programming is his signature “collage” style: through-composed programs that marry music and poetry to blend sacred and secular, classical and contemporary, traditional and popular styles. Craig’s first concert-length composition, Considering Matthew Shepard, was premiered in 2016 by Conspirare. His works are published by Alliance Music Publications and he works with G. Schirmer Publishing on the Craig Hella Johnson Choral Series, featuring specially selected composers as well as some of his original compositions and arrangements.
A Minnesota native, Johnson studied at St. Olaf College, the Juilliard School, and the University of Illinois and earned his doctorate at Yale University. As the recipient of a National Arts Fellowship, Johnson studied with Helmuth Rilling at the International Bach Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.