Joyce Finch Johnson, AAGO, is a Professor of Music and College Organist at Spelman College. From 1989 - 1994 and from 1995 - 2001 she served as Chair of the Department of Music. Having received her earliest musical training from her mother, she later studied piano with William Duncan Allen at Fisk University, Beryl Rubinstein at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Jose Echaniz at the Eastman School of Music, Louis Crowder and Gui Mombaerts at Northwestern University, from which she earned the Master of Music degree and the Doctor of Music in Piano Performance. She studied organ with Richard Enright and Karel Paukert at Northwestern, and David Craighead at the Eastman School of Music. In 1989, through a rigorous certification examination, she became an Associate of the American Guild of Organists (AAGO).
A seasoned performer, Joyce Johnson plays both solo piano and solo organ recitals. She conducts workshops, plays with chamber music groups, and accompanies distinguished artists. She has been guest piano soloist with various regional orchestras and has performed piano concerti by Franck, Liszt, Mozart, John La Montaine, and Anton Rubinstein with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under the batons of Robert Shaw, Louis Lane, Michael Palmer and Christian Badea. She has concertized in Haiti, the West Indies, and Brazil where she played piano concerts in Sao Paulo as part of an international music festival (the Primeira Semana de Musica das Americas). She also was Artist-in-Residence at the Pernambuco Conservatory of Music in Recife, Brazil, and performed other concerts in that area of South America.
As an organist, she had the distinction of being the chosen organist for the nationally televised Communion Service reuniting the Northern and Southern Presbyterian churches at its 195th General Assembly of 12,000 people in Atlanta, Georgia. Later she was Assembly Organist for the Quadrennial Ecumenical Assembly of 4,000 Church Women United at Purdue University. In the summer of 1994, she was again invited to Purdue University to serve as organist for Faith Works --a United Church of Christ convention of nearly 4,000 people. In the summer of 1996 she performed in the Festival de Musique Baroque in Souvigny, France and also in Lyon as a part of a summer institute on French organ music. In the Fall of 1997 she performed an organ recital in Devonshire, Bermuda, at the Anglican Christ Church. In demand as a recitalist and workshop leader, she often lectures on African American music, arts issues in higher education, or topics related to keyboard performance and performance pedagogy.
She is professionally involved with a number of music organizations including the American Guild of Organists, the College Music Society, the Music Teachers National Association, and the National Association of Schools of Music. A recent special project was her three-year service on the United Church of Christ (UCC) Hymnal Committee resulting in the 1995 publication of The New Century Hymnal, which includes eight of her arrangements. She has board appointments and serves on review panels for local, state, and national arts organizations. A member of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, she is a member of the Atlanta Chapter of The Links, Inc., the Utopian Literary Club, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Bronze Woman of the Year in the Arts, the Spelman College Presidential Award for Distinguished Service, The Fannie Lou Hamer Award, and awards from the Metropolitan Atlanta Music Association, the National Association of Negro Musicians, and the National Black Music Caucus. Most recently she was recognized as a Lexus Leader in the Arts.