Dr. Carl Johengen is a multi-talented artist who has earned a reputation of excellence as a choral conductor, voice teacher, singer, and composer. Since 2019 he has held the position of Director of Music Ministry at Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester NY. There he leads two adult choirs and oversees an active multi-generational music program. He holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music, as well as Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Ithaca College.
His life-long love of church music and congregational singing began in childhood; his father was the family church’s volunteer organist, and at a young age Carl sang solos in church, and studied piano and organ. His early ambition was to become a symphony oboist, but a stint in the college choir opened his eyes and ears to the vast repertoire of choral music and the expressive power of solo and ensemble singing. Since then, in a career spanning thirty-three years, he has worked with literally thousands of singers in church and civic choirs, workshops, festivals, classroom, and studio.
He served for twelve years on the voice faculty of the Ithaca College School of Music, and for ten seasons as Music Director of the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble, Ithaca’s elite a cappella chamber chorus. He has conducted numerous all-county and area all-state festival choruses throughout New York. Other past positions include: Minister of Music at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Bath NY; Choir Director at Wells College; Voice Faculty at the Berkshire Choral Festival; Founding Music Director of the Syracuse Gay and Lesbian Chorus; Chorus Master for Syracuse Opera; Diocesan Music Consultant for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.
As a solo singer, his performances consistently have been hailed as expressive, intelligent, and technically assured. He has appeared in recital, concert and opera throughout the United States, sharing the stage with such artists as baritones Max von Egmond and Kurt Ollmann, lutenist Paul O’Dette, and conductors Robert Page, Phillip Brunelle, Gilbert Varga, Andrews Sill, and Shinik Hahm. His diverse repertoire spans Monteverdi and Bach to Lou Harrison and Arvo Pärt.
He has soloed with the Rochester Philharmonic, Syracuse Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Hartford Symphony, Green Bay Symphony, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra (Ithaca NY) and the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes (Elmira NY.) He has sung at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher and Alice Tully Halls, and at the Berkshire Choral Festival and the Boston Early Music Festival. In November 2014 he made his Carnegie Hall recital debut in a new song cycle written for him by David Sisco. A specialist in music of the Baroque, he has appeared frequently with the historical instrument ensemble The Publick Musick, with whom he has performed over a dozen of Bach’s cantatas as well as the St. John Passion. A frequent guest with regional and collegiate oratorio societies, he has been heard in numerous works of Purcell, Bach, Handel, Haydn, Monteverdi, Mozart, Schubert and Honegger, among others. He has sung Britten’s War Requiem at the Eastman School of Music and at Lawrence University; the latter performance was broadcast on Wisconsin Public Radio. On the operatic stage, he has appeared as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus, as Beppe in I Pagliacci, and in leading roles in several Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
In addition to his accomplishments as a conductor and performer, Dr. Johengen has enjoyed success as a composer. Over two dozen of his sacred and secular choral works have been released by five prominent publishing houses.