Dr. John C. Hughes is assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Ripon College in Wisconsin. In addition to conducting the college’s choirs, Hughes teaches conducting, choral methods, and private voice lessons. Beyond Ripon College, he is in demand as a clinician and honor choir conductor and serves as assistant conductor of the Choral Institute at the Green Lake Festival of Music (WI). He also founded and hosts Choir Chat, a weekly podcast of interviews with conductors and composers.
Hughes earned his undergraduate degree in Vocal Music Education from Augustana College (IL), where he studied with Jon Hurty and Michael Zemek. After teaching in public schools for several years, he earned the M.M. in Choral Conducting from Northern Illinois University, where he studied choral conducting with Eric Johnson and orchestral conducting with Lucia Matos. Hughes earned the D.M.A. in Choral Conducting and Pedagogy at The University of Iowa, where he completed his dissertation on Leonhard Lechner’s 1593 Passion. His primary teachers at Iowa were Timothy Stalter and David Puderbaugh.
A versatile choral musician and pedagogue, Hughes draws from his experience as a collegiate conductor, public school teacher, and church musician. His calm but firm demeanor and persistent dedication to excellence translate well across all ensembles. In addition to his busy performance schedule, Hughes is passionate about choral literature and scholarship, specializing in Lutheran music before 1600 and trends in contemporary choral composition. From January 2012 until August 2015, he wrote the Repertoire Forum column for the bi-monthly publication Choral Director. He has authored articles in Choral Journal and The Choral Scholar, as well as numerous reviews of choral music, books, and recordings. He serves as associate editor of Melisma, the newsletter of the north-central division of the American Choral Directors Association, and as associate editor of score reviews for The Choral Scholar. Additionally, he is a national board member of and the Wisconsin state representative for the National Collegiate Choral Organization.