Faith DeBow, New Young Artist Coordinator
As New Young Artist Coordinator and pianist for the Victoria Bach Festival, Faith DeBow leads the application process, recitals, and community outreach concerts of the Festival’s New Young Artists.
Faith enjoys a vibrant and eclectic performance and teaching career based in the Central Texas region. She joined the music faculty at Texas State University in 2001, where she teaches class piano and accompanying, and is a staff accompanist at Trinity University. She has been the pianist for choral ensemble Conspirare since 2005, and often plays orchestral keyboard with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Faith has had the privilege of performing in over a dozen states and eight countries, including Iceland, France, and Denmark. She has recorded for Harmonia Mundi and PBS with Conspirare (including the Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings release in which she and Michelle Schumann played 4-hands piano), and for Albany Records with tuba player Tim Buzbee. Faith enjoys bringing new music to life, and has worked with many composers. She holds a master’s degree in accompanying and chamber music from the Eastman School of Music, where she studied under the Brooks Smith Fellowship, and a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Butler University.
Craig Hella Johnson, Conductor Emeritus
Craig Hella Johnson served as conductor and Artistic Director of the Victoria Bach Festival from 1992 to 2015. He brought critical acclaim to the Festival with inspiring performances of such masterworks as Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem, J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor, Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Roberto Sierra’s Missa Latina. Of the 2000 performance of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Michael Greenberg of the San Antonio Express-News wrote “A full 24 hours after it was over, it was still with me – a fleet, magisterial account of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, conducted with total authority and sweeping sense of line by Craig Hella Johnson.”
Johnson is the founder and Artistic Director of the Grammy®-winning choral ensemble Conspirare, based in Austin, TX. Since 1991, he has assembled some of the finest singers in the country to develop a world-class, award-winning ensemble committed to creating dynamic choral art. Johnson’s work with Conspirare is featured in over 20 recordings, including Sing Freedom! African American Spirituals, and Samuel Barber An American Romantic.
In April 2013, Johnson was designated the Texas State Musician for 2013 by the Texas Legislature, following recommendation by the Texas Commission on the Arts. Johnson was awarded the 2015 Best Choral Performance Grammy® for conducting Conspirare Company of Voices on the CD The Sacred Spirit of Russia (Harmonia Mundi label). In June 2015, Johnson received The Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, Chorus America’s lifetime achievement award.
Johnson is Music Director of Cincinnati’s Vocal Arts Ensemble. He was Artistic Director of San Francisco-based Chanticleer from 1998-1999 and has served as guest conductor with ensembles including the Taipei Male Choir, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the Austin Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque and the Oregon Bach Festival.
Victoria Bach Festival 2016-2017 Board of Directors
Mary Ann Sawyers, President
Tim Hornback, Vice President
Dr. Margaret Rice, Secretary
Gary Childress, Treasurer
Vanessa F. Hicks-Callaway
Dr. Michael Hummel
Dr. Suzanne LaBrecque
Victoria Bach Festival Staff
Nina Di Leo, Executive Director
Jeanie Mayne, Administrative Assistant
Nick Stange, Artist Contractor
Joan E. Carlson, Music Librarian
Matthew Schneider, Stage Manager