Calvert Johnson is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Music and College Organist at Agnes Scott College (Decatur, GA), where he serves as chair of the music department and teaches organ, harpsichord, sacred music, and women in music. From 1977-86 he was on the music faculty of Northeastern Oklahoma State University and Organist of St. Basil's Episcopal Church, Tahlequah, OK.
Johnson earned the master's and doctorate in organ performance at Northwestern University (IL), where he studied organ with Karel Paukert, and harpsichord with Dorothy Lane. His undergraduate degree was earned at Kalamazoo College (MI), where he studied with Danford Byrens. A native of Denver, he first studied organ with Helen Summers.
Through the Fulbright-Hays program and a French Government Grant, he studied contemporary music and improvisation with Xavier Darasse at the Toulouse Conservatoire, from which he was awarded the Premier Prix (Médaille d'Or). Additional study has been in Madrid (Spain), the Summer Organ Academy in Haarlem (the Netherlands), the Italian Organ Academy at Pistoia (Italy), and the North German Organ Academy. In the summer of 2001 he participated in two seminars for college teachers: "Writing Biography" at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park NC, and a National Endowment for the Humanities (N.E.H.) seminar "Changing Identities in the French Revolution" at the Newberry Library, Chicago. In 1984 he was a participant in an Archival Institute at the Newberry Library on a grant from the N.E.H.: "Reading, Transcribing, and Editing Spanish Manuscript Documents from 1300-1650" led by the Director of the Spanish National Archives. In 1981, he participated in the N.E.H.-sponsored seminar at Brandeis University: "Medieval and Renaissance Music, from Notation to Performance" led by Dr. Margaret Bent then of Princeton University.
Among his prominent performances are the Piccolo Spoleto Festival of Charleston, South Carolina; the Eighth International Organ Festival of Morelia, Mexico; a series of recorded programs for Radio-France; Guanajuato, Mexico (for the conference and tour of Mexican Organs sponsored by the Westfield Center for Early Keyboard Studies, 1993); The College Music Society's annual meetings at Santa Fe, 1988 and 2001, Savannah, 1994, and Atlanta, 1996; the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Negro Musicians, and the Kennedy Center, Washington, representing the state of Arkansas in the Bicentennial year. He has performed in Japan, England, Italy, France, Monaco, Switzerland, and Germany, as well as throughout the United States. He has recorded CDs and cassette tapes for Calcante Recordings (Early Spanish Organ Music, volumes 1 and 2; Go Tell It on the Mountain featuring music by early Dutch and women composers), and Chicago Renaissance Woman: Florence B. Price Organ Works, which won the third annual award from the Society for American Music. He has also given recitals featuring black composers in Atlanta, Birmingham, Chicago, St. Petersburg, New Orleans, and New York City.
Early keyboard music is Johnson's specialty, especially that of Spain, Italy, England, France, and Holland. He has widely performed and lectured on early keyboard music and its performance practices at colleges and for chapters of the American Guild of Organists. He gave a paper on early Italian fingering for the annual meeting of the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society at Duke University (NC), and another on early fingering for a conference at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1990. In 1991, he gave a workshop on the registration of early English, Italian, and Spanish organ music for the Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Syracuse, NY. His articles on early Spanish, Italian, and English organ music have appeared in professional journals in the United States and France. He is the author of volumes (some forthcoming) on Spain, Italy, England, Holland, Portugal, and France for the period 1550-1830 in the series Historical Organ Techniques and Repertoire: An Historical Survey of Organ Performance Practices and Repertoire, Wayne Leupold Editions.
Another interest is keyboard music by women composers. In 1993 he gave a paper
on Marie Bigot at an international symposium in Alaska, "musicAlaskawomen."
For the national meeting of the College Music Society in Savannah, 1994, he
gave a recital of the organ works of Florence Price. He has given lecture recitals
at the Sixth Festival of Women Composers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania,
at the Third Symposium on Women in Music at SUNY-Buffalo, for the Western European
Studies Center (Kalamazoo, MI), for the Southeast American Society for Eighteenth
Century Studies, and for the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society on French
women keyboard composers of the Revolutionary Era. He has also performed a recital
of music by women at the national symposium, "Women, the Arts, and Society"
at Susquehanna University, at the Sixth Festival of Women Composers at Indiana
University of Pennsylvania, a conference on women in music at Furman University,
the Cleveland Museum of Art, Yale University, for churches in Germany and France,
in Atlanta and at the University of Georgia. At Agnes Scott College, he was
the coordinator of the world premiere of Thea Musgrave's music-theatre piece
"Echoes through Time," commissioned for the College's Centennial.
He is currently engaged in research on eighteenth-century keyboard music by
English and French women, and on grants from Agnes Scott College, spent the
summers of 1989 and 1990 in Paris and London doing research. His modern editions
of the works by women composers have been published: Fortepiano Works of Marie
Bigot, Sonatas for Fortepiano or Harpsichord by Mme. de Villeblanche, Fanny
Hensel: Organ Works in G Major, Anna Amalia: Figurierte Choräle, and Organ
Works by Women Composers before 1800 (all Vivace Press); The Accompanied Keyboard
Sonatas of Cecilia Maria Barthélemon, Ann Valentine, Ten Sonatas and
4 volumes of organ music by Florence Price (all ClarNan editions), Amélie-Julie
Candeille, Concerto for Forte Piano, and Airs from Catherine, ou la Belle Fermière
(Hildegard Publishing). He has contributed articles and editions of works by
Gracia Baptista, Hélène Montgeroult, and Julie Candeille in the
12-volume anthology Women Composers: Music through the Ages (G. K. Hall). Several
of his articles on French women composers have been published by Women of Note
Quarterly (Montgeroult, and Caroline Wuiet). He also teaches courses at Agnes
Scott College on Women in Music and Women in World Music, and served as co-chair
of the College Music Society's Committee on Music, Women, and Gender.
Past Dean of the Atlanta and Tulsa chapters of the American Guild of Organists, and Performances Chair for the 1992 National Convention in Atlanta of this organization, Johnson is included in the International Who's Who in Music and in Who's Who in Music in America. Past President of the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society, he served on its Executive Board and chaired its planning committee for the 1992 and 1993 annual meetings. He is a past Chair of the Music Group and served as a member of the Faculty Council of the Atlanta Regional Consortium for Higher Education. He has also served on the Commission on Music of the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma, and the Tahlequah (OK) Area Arts and Humanities Council, for which he was responsible for a chamber music series and for the first three annual Composers Days during which Ned Rorem, Norman Dello Joio, and Daniel Pinkham were brought to the community to work with student musicians at the University and in the public schools.
Consulting on new pipe organs is an interesting sidelight. Johnson participated
in the selection of the Rosales organ at St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church
of Atlanta, the Brombaugh organ at Agnes Scott College, the Bedient organ at
St. Basil's Episcopal Church, Tahlequah, OK, the Andover organ at Northeastern
Oklahoma State University, the Bigelow organ at First United Methodist Church
of Tahlequah, and he has been the consultant for churches in Atlanta, Mobile,
and Clearwater (FL) in the process of selecting new organs.