Conductor and Music Director Reviews


Conductor and Music Director Reviews

“Rockland” the Opera/ Pine Mountain Music Festival
US Premiere of Jukka Linkola's new full-length opera in July 2011/ Houghton MI
Opera Magazine
January 2012/ London:
“The conductor Craig Randal Johnson brought out the darkness in the music, kept the score and the singers well balanced, and made the musical climaxes pay off.”
(Michael Margolin)

The Marriage of Figaro/ North Star Opera
Minneapolis Star and Tribune
21. January 1986/ Minneapolis:
"For his part, Johnson proved to be a reliable, at times canny Mozart conductor. While providing the harpsichord continuo during the recitatives, he drew together Mozart's great finals with undeniable logic and good humor, despite the dry tone of the string players."
(Michael Anthony)

St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch
20. January 1986/ St. Paul:
"[Johnson] found himself in charge of an orchestra that included some 30 of the Twin Cities' most able freelance musicians. To his credit, he did not squander the opportunity; he drew from them a bright, effervescent performance on the evening I attended." (Roy Close)

Brecht/ Eisler/ Schweyk in the Second World War/ Osnabrück, Germany
Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung
14. February 1983/ Osnabrück, Germany
"Hanns Eislers teils 'pointillistisch' klar zeichnende, teils harmlos-optimistische, teils holzschnitthaft eindringliche, teils Zirkus-Stimmung parodierende Musik wurde von Craig Johnson griffig für eine vierköpfige Combo . . . eingerichtet. Sie tat ihre musicaliserende Wirkung in allen Wechselfällen. Stürmischer Schlußbeifall für die höchst respektable Producktion." (Manfred Böhmer)

"Hanns Eisler's clear, pointalistic, at times harmlessly optimistic, sometimes cuttingly urgent and circus-like music was accessibly arranged by Craig Johnson for four piece combo. The arrangement worked well on all fronts. Stormy applause for the highly respectable production."

Brecht/ Dessau: Caucasian Chalk Circle/ Osnabrück, Germany
Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung
17. November 1981/ Osnabrück
"Unter Leitung und Mitwirkung von Craig Johnson übermitteln die Instrumentalisten . . . Paul Dessaus melismenreiche, griffige, zeichnerisch treffsichere Musik brillant."

The Magic Flute Overture/ Rome, Italy
July 1982/ Rome, Italy
"L'incisiva direzione di Johnson ha riportato con dovizia di particolari timbirci tutte le sfumature della partitura con un a resa assolutamente ineccepibile."

Johnson's incisive conducting brought forth in abundance the particular timbre of all the nuances of the score, in an absolutely convincing rendering.

The Marriage of Figaro/ Rome, Italy
The Daily American
24. July 1982/ Rome, Italy
"Maestro Johnson is to be congratulated for giving Rome a highly acceptable performance which we rarely get a chance to hear."

Finnish Independence Day Celebration Concert/ Minneapolis
The Finnish American Reporter in February 1998
December 6, 1997/ Minneapolis MN
"Central to the success of the evening was a forty-one piece orchestra created and conducted by Craig Johnson. . ."

Piano Reviews

Piano Music from Finland
“A Finnish Musical Tour with Craig Randal Johnson, Pianist
Review of Craig Randal Johnson’s CD which appeared in ‘New World Finn’/ January 2003

Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung/ Hannover, Germany
Review of the Recital of 15. November, 1994: “Der Pianist Craig Johnson im Leibnizhaus”

15. November 1994/ Hannover, Germany
In diesem vertrackten Spannungsfeld zwischen europâisher Kunstmusik und
einfacher, 'naiver' Melodik entwickelte Craig Johnson viel Gespür für fließende
Strukturen. Ein überzeugender Vortrag kam dabei heraus, der eigentlich jede
Diskussion, ob diese Musik nun amerikanisch sei oder nicht, überflüssig machte.

Translation from the original German:
"In this awkward tension between European art music and simpler' naive' melody, Craig Johnson developed a deep feeling for fluent structures. A convincing performance was the result that rendered any discussion as to whether this music is American or not, redundant."

© Craig Randal Johnson 2018