Setnor School of Music
Associate Professor, Applied Music and Performance (Voice)
Eric Johnson is an associate professor of music and voice area coordinator at the Setnor School of Music. First as a singer, and now also as teacher and stage director, Johnson has been a fixture on the operatic stages of the United States and Europe for 25 years. A graduate of Harvard College and the Indiana University School of Music, he made his professional debut in 1984 with the Central City Opera as Sparafucile in Verdi’s Rigoletto.
He soon found himself in steady demand throughout the United States, appearing with more than 30 regional opera companies, including the Washington Opera, Dallas Opera, Cleveland Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Fort Worth Opera, Tulsa Opera, and especially the Lyric Opera of Dallas, where he starred in more than a dozen productions. Orchestral credits include the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Rochester Philharmonic, and the Voices of Ascension.
In 1992, Johnson accepted the position of leading bass of the Stadttheater Giessen in Germany, there making his European debut as King Heinrich in Wagner’s Lohengrin. During the next nine years Johnson would sing all the major bass roles in a house that won critical praise for the integrity and inventiveness of its productions (see “Großstätisches Level,” Opernwelt, November, 1995). During this time he also made guest appearances in such major German houses as Wiesbaden, Leipzig, Würtzburg, Freiburg, and Wupperthal/Gelsenkirchen as well as performing with the Opera de las Americas in Santo Domingo and the Fresno Opera. In all, his repertoire encompasses some 60 roles, including nearly every important part for low bass.
Johnson returned to the U.S. in 2001 to join the faculty of the Setnor School of Music. He maintains an active performing schedule nationwide, having appeared with the Sacramento Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, the Teatro Grattacielo of New York, and the Owensboro (Kentucky) Philharmonic Orchestra during his time at Syracuse, as well as being a frequent performer with the Syracuse Opera and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. In recent years, he has been particularly active in the area of contemporary music. In 2006 he performed the role of Dr. Gibbs in the professional company premiere of Ned Rorem’s Our Town (Lake George Opera), he was bass soloist in the world premiere of the eminent American composer Richard Einhorn’s oratorio The Origin (ArtsWego, 2009), and he has directed a workshop production of Snow White by Luigi Zaninelli (SU Opera Theatre, 2006) and a full production of Frida by Robert Xavier Rodriguez (Syracuse Society for New Music, 2009).