Cynthia Johnston Turner

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Cynthia Johnston Turner is a conductor and clinician in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Canada. She is currently on the faculty of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music at the University of Georgia, having formerly served on the faculty of Cornell University, where she directed the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony and chamber winds. Johnston Turner is guest conductor with the Syracuse Society for New Music and principal guest conductor with the Austrian Festival Orchestra and Paris Lodron Ensemble in Salzburg.

A Canadian, Johnston Turner completed her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at Queen's University and her Master of Music in music education and conducting at the University of Victoria. Touring with her ensembles inspired her master's thesis on the musical and personal transformations that occur on tours, and her D.M.A. thesis at the Eastman School of Music centered on Dialogues and Entertainments by William Kraft. At Eastman, she was the recipient of the Eastman Graduate Teaching Award in conducting, where she studied with Donald Hunsberger, Mark Scatterday, and Neil Varon. She was nominated for the Canadian Prime Minister's Leadership in Teaching Award and received the National Leadership in Education Award (Readers Digest Foundation), the Excellence in Education Award (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation), and the Marion Drysdale Leadership Among Women Teachers Award (also from OSSTF).

Service is an important component of Dr. Johnston Turner's career. Since January 2006, she has led the Cornell Wind Ensemble on performing and service-learning tours to Costa Rica and Panama that include performances and masterclasses across the two countries and the donation of instruments (over 250 to date) to a rural 'escuela de musicas.' The Hodgson Wind Ensemble has taken similar tours to rural Georgia and Panama.

Cynthia has commissioned numerous new works for wind band, contemporary music ensembles, and orchestra, and she continues to actively promote commissions by today's leading and emerging composers around the world. Under her direction, the Cornell Wind Ensemble was invited to perform at the College Band Directors National Association's Eastern Division Conference in 2007 and 2012, and the Hodgson Wind Ensemble will perform at CBDNA National in Kansas City in 2017. In 2008, the Merrill Presidential Scholars at Cornell recognized Cynthia as an outstanding educator, and in 2009, she was awarded the Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship. Her performances have been praised by such composers as Steven Stucky, William Kraft, Steven Bryant, Marc Mellits, Nancy Galbraith, Peter Lane, Eddie Mora Bermudez, Dana Wilson, Roberto Sierra, and Karel Husa.

Cynthia has guest conducted the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain, the Syracuse Symphony ("Symphoria"), the National Youth Band of Canada, University of Southern California Wind Ensemble, Concordia Santa Fe, the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Latin American Honor Band, the National Band of Costa Rica, the National Orchestra of Heredia, and numerous state honor bands. Cynthia has been invited to present her research with teaching and technology, innovative rehearsal techniques, and service-learning and music performance at numerous conferences nationally and internationally. She is published in such journals as Music Educators Journal, Interdisciplinary Humanities, International Journal of the Humanities, Journal of the World Association of Bands and Ensembles, Fanfare Magazine, and Canadian Winds, and has recorded CDs with the Innova and Albany labels.

In 2014, she accepted the appointment of Professor of Conducting and Director of Bands at the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, University of Georgia. She oversees the entire UGA Band program, is chair of the conducting area, and artistic director of Rote Hund Muzik. She is a member of the College Band Directors National Association, National Band Association, and American Bandmasters Association.

Selected Publications and Recordings[edit]

  • "Charlottesville and Citizen Artistry" (2019) NewMusicBox (
  • "Velocity Meadows" by Christopher Stark (2018) Hodgson Wind Ensemble, available on iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby
  • "It's Not What We Do, It's How We Do It" (2018) NewMusicBox (
  • The New Winds of Change: the Evolution of the Contemporary American Wind Band/Ensemble and Its Music, Frank Battisti (one of nine collegiate conductors interviewed for Chapter 23, “What Leaders Think,” (pp. 411-426)  plus citations on pp. 230, 251, 263, 327, 335, 380. Meredeth Music Publications, 2018
  • The Conductor’s Companion: 100 Rehearsal Techniques, Imaginative Ideas, Quotes, and Facts, compiled and edited by Gary Stith. “iPad Rehearsals” p. 26, 2017
  • "Music Here and Now" (Innova 970, 2017) Society for New Music, available on iTunes
  • "Educators Can't Become Dinosaurs": USA Today OpEd, 2014
  • "Another Perspective: crowd-sourcing our ensemble rehearsals," Music Educators Journal, Dec. 2013
  • "Augenblick" (Albany, 2012), Cornell Wind Ensemble, available on iTunes and Amazon
  • "What's With the Russian Soldier? How Acting and Movement Classes Inform my Conducting, Canadian Winds/Vents Canadiens: the Journal of the Canadian Band Association, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2011
  • "Leaving the Safe Harbor: Music, Social, and Ensemble Adventures," International Journal of the Humanities, 2009
  • "Serendipity" 2-CD release with the Society for New Music (Innova, 2010), available on iTunes and (Winner of 2010 "Sammy" award)
  • Canzon 26 by Pietro Lappi, arranged for Wind Ensemble, Tierolff Musiekcentrale, Netherlands, 2009
  • Nine sili nebesniye (Rejoice now heavenly powers) by Alexander Sheremetiev/arranged for trombone choir by C. Johnston Turner, Tierolff Musiekcentrale, Netherlands, 2009
  • "Dialogues and Entertainments by William Kraft: An Interpretive Analysis." Journal of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles 11 (2004).
  • "The Wind Band Concert: A Bleak Future?" Journal of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles 10 (2003).
  • "Music and Journey: Personal and Ensemble Transformation on the Band Tour." Canadian Music Educator 43/2 (2002).