Clair W. Johnson

From Wind Repertory Project
Clair W. Johnson

Biography

Clair W. Johnson (5 May 1902, Mapleton, Utah – 1985) was an American composer and music educator.

Johnson began music studies as a child with a Sears and Roebuck cornet. He soon learned to play trombone, tuba, and French horn as well. He played in school and municipal bands, and worked with several theater orchestras after graduating from high school. He later was a member of the Utah State Symphony.

Dr. Johnson earned a master's degree at Brigham Young University, then studied at Northwestern, the Juilliard School and the University of Southern California, where he received his Ph.D. in 1937.

During the depression, Johnson went from performing to teaching, working in several school districts in Utah. In 1937, he joined the music faculty at Weber College as band and orchestra director. He spent 33 years at Weber, serving as a music theory, harmony, music history, and orchestration instructor. He eventually was named chairman of the Music Department there.

Johnson was very prolific as a composer. By the time he retired, he had written more than 300 pieces for bands and orchestras, as well as several books on composing for bands.

In 1975, he was commissioned by the state of Utah to write the Bicentennial March for the state's bicentennial celebration. In 1981, he was awarded a tribute from the 1941 graduating class for helping design the music areas at Weber in 1950. In this tribute, students note that he was a "highly respected and loved professor for his friendliness, his concern with each of his students, and for his pursuit of excellence in music and composition." The band room at Weber State was named after Clair W. Johnson in 1985.

In 1976, Dr. Johnson was awarded a special recognition award by the Utah Music Educators' Association.


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