Cynthia Johnston Turner is in demand as a conductor, conducting and ensemble clinician, and speaker in the United States, Australia, Latin America, Europe, and Canada.
Before her appointment at the Hodgson School at the University of Georgia, Cynthia was Director of Wind Ensembles at Cornell University. Earlier in her career Cynthia was a high school music educator, taught middle school beginning instrumental music in Toronto and choral music in Switzerland. She currently serves as a conductor with the Syracuse Society of New Music, the Austrian Festival Orchestra, and the Paris Lodron Ensemble in Salzburg.
A Canadian, Cynthia completed her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at Queens 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 the music of William Kraft, one of this generation’s leading composers. At Eastman Cynthia was the recipient of the prestigious teaching award in conducting. She received the National Leadership in Education Award (Canada), the Excellence in Education Award (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation), and the Marion Drysdale Leadership Award (also from OSSTF). She is also the recipient of the Donald A. Reick Memorial Award for research with wearable technologies and music pedagogy, and the American Prize for innovative programming with wind bands.
Cynthia has commissioned numerous new works for wind band 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. 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, Eddie Mora, Dana Wilson, Roberto Sierra, Jesse Jones, and Karel Husa.
From January 2006, Cynthia led the Cornell Wind Ensemble on biennial performing and service tours to Costa Rica that included performances across the country, conducting master classes with Costa Rican teachers, instrument master classes for Costa Rican musicians, and the donation of over 250 instruments to music schools across the country.
Among other recent engagements, Cynthia has guest conducted the National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain, the Syracuse Symphony (“Symphoria”), the National Youth Band of Canada, 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.
Cynthia serves as a board member with WASBE, and is an active member of CDBNA, Conductor’s Guild, College Music Society, Humanities Education and Research Association, the National Association for Music Education, and National Band Association.
As Director of Bands and Professor of Music at the Hodgson School, Cynthia conducts the Wind Ensemble, teaches conducting, leads the MM and DMA programs in conducting, and oversees the entire Hodgson band program.