Alan Johnson is widely recognized in a career spanning music direction, performance, and higher education. As conductor and pianist, he has prepared, premiered, and performed a multitude of progressive works at the frontiers of new opera, theater, dance, and song with acclaimed and emerging artists of all generations. 2022 - 2023 performances and productions included the premiere of The Leopard by Michael Dellaira and
J. D. McClatchy, and Le Nozze di Figaro with the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Companionship by Rachel Peters and Tales from the Briar Patch by Nkieru Okoye at the Virginia Arts Festival, the premiere workshop of Shimmer by Anthony Davis, Michael Korie, and Sarah Schulman at Yale University, and recitals with MET Opera singers Dennis Petersen and Sandra Lopez Neill.
The diverse range of Alan's inter-disciplinary work has led to performances at premier national venues including the BAM Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, American Repertory Theater, American Music Theater Festival, New York Shakespeare Festival, Peak Performances, Walker Art Center, The Kitchen, McCarter Theater, Classic Stage Company, New York City Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Joyce Theater, and many others. Theatrical and collaborative performances at universities include engagements across the country at such institutions as Yale, Princeton, University of Chicago, UCSD, UCLA, Bucknell, Wisconsin, and many more.
Known for maintaining long associations and repeat collaborations with American composers, Alan’s opera and theater engagements include numerous premieres by Philip Glass (Book of Longing, The Sound of a Voice, In the Penal Colony, La Belle et la Bête, Orphée, Les Enfants Terribles, Hydrogen Jukebox, Provenance Unknown, The Mysteries and What’s So Funny?!, Henry IV Parts I and II, Cymbeline, In the Summer House, The Making of the Representative for Planet 8), Pulitzer Prize composer Anthony Davis (Tania, Amistad, Angels in America, Lilith), Douglas Cuomo (Arjuna’s Dilemma, Savage Winter), and Polly Pen (Bed and Sofa, The Night Governess, The Dumbcake). Alan has also led premiere scores by Nicholas Brooke, Mary Ellen Childs, Tina Davidson, Michael Dellaira, Jonathan Dove, John Duffy, Kenneth Fuchs, Allan Jaffe, Leroy Jenkins, Michael John LaChiusa, Charles Norman Mason, John Moran, Dan Moses Schreier, and Thomas Sleeper. Collaborations in new and existing repertory also includes work with composers Christopher Cerrone, Gary Fagin, Michael Gordon, Dana Kaufman, Guy Klucevsek, Michael Kosch, David Lang, Libby Larsen, Lansing McCloskey, Diedre Murray, Michael Torke, Blue Gene Tyranny, and Richard Wargo.
Alan is the recipient of numerous awards and research grants, including an OBIE Award presented by the American Theatre Wing for Sustained Excellence in Music Direction; a Jeff Award - Excellence in Chicago Theatre for Outstanding Music Direction of the premieres of The Sound of a Voice and Hotel of Dreams, two one-act operas by Philip Glass and David Henry Hwang; the Phillip and Patricia Frost Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship at the Frost School of Music; University of Miami Provost Research Awards; and a Rockefeller Residency in Bellagio, Italy with composer Mary Ellen Childs. Numerous productions have also garnered Drama Desk, OBIE, and Bessie Awards.
As a member of premiere performance and workshop artistic teams, Alan has collaborated and worked closely with preeminent directors and choreographers across the performing arts including stage directors JoAnne Akalaitis, Mary Birnbaum, Jeffrey Buchman, Barry Edelstein, André Ernotte, Robin Guarino, David Herskovits, Dan Hurlin, Richard Jones, Ben Krywosz, Rhoda Levine, Ben Levit, Bob McGrath, Jonathan Moore, Nicholas Muni, Lisa Peterson, Keturah Stickann, Talvin Wilks, Robert Woodruff, and Francesca Zambello. He has collaborated, performed, or toured with choreographers, dancers, and companies including Molissa Fenley, David Gordon’s Pick Up Performance Co., Ann Carlson, John Kelly, Anne Kuite, Susan Marshall, Rosa Mercedes, Richard Move, Catherine Turocy, and Doug Varone.
Since 2008, Alan Johnson held the position of Music Director at the John Duffy Institute for New Opera at the Virginia Arts Festival. Working closely with Founding Director John Duffy, Artistic Director Libby Larson, and Stage Director Rhoda Levine, Alan prepared and led works-in-progress by more than sixty composer fellows.
As an educator, Alan Johnson is a Full Professor in the Department of Vocal Performance and Program/Music Director of the Frost Opera Theater at the Frost School of Music, at the University of Miami. Leading the Frost Symphony Orchestra, Alan has conducted premiere and core repertory opera in a broad range of programming from Baroque opera to the most progressive works of our time, including Ainadamar, Albert Herring, Ballymore - Part One: Winners, Cendrillon, Così fan tutte, Dido and Aeneas, Gianni Schicchi , Hin und Zurück, Jackie O, L’enfant et les sortilèges, The Light in the Piazza, Le Nozze di Figaro, Les Malheurs d’Orphée, Mavra, The Merry Widow, The Rake’s Progress, Strawberry Fields, Suor Angelica, and Die Zauberflöte.
Owing to the lineage of his own teachers, Alan is forever indebted to early guidance and mentorship from legendary artist pianists and musicians, John Wustman and Ivan Davis.