Meet our Music Director
In 2020, Chicago Master Singers welcomed its new Music Director, John C. Hughes, D.M.A. He is the third Music Director of CMS since its founding in 1979, following in the steps of Thomas Wikman and Alan Heatherington. His expertise in choral music, conducting, music history, and music education is extensive and he looks forward to continuing CMS's long tradition of presenting the best in choral music.
Hughes enjoys a multifaceted career as a professional conductor based in Chicago. In addition to serving as CMS Music Director, he is also the Director of Choral Programs at the Green Lake Festival of Music, where he conducts the Choral Institute and is the founding conductor of the Composer Residency. Since the Residency's inception in 2018, he has collaborated with Ola Gjeilo, Shawn Kirchner, Elaine Hagenberg, and Morten Lauridsen.
Accompanying his busy performance schedule, Hughes is passionate about choral literature and scholarship. His research interests include Lutheran music before 1600 and trends in contemporary choral composition. His peer-reviewed, book-length modern edition of Leonhard Lechner’s Passion setting (1593) with critical commentary will be published in the coming months. He has also authored peer-reviewed articles in the Choral Journal, The Choral Scholar, and The Diapason, as well as numerous reviews of choral music, books, and recordings.
Hughes is actively involved in many professional organizations. He currently serves as Associate Editor of Score Reviews for The Choral Scholar and is a national board member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization. For several years, he hosted Choir Chat, a weekly podcast of interviews with conductors and composers.
Prior to joining CMS, Hughes taught at Ripon College in Wisconsin, where he served as Director of Choral Activities and Chair of the Music Department. His previous experience is as a K-12 music teacher and church musician.
Hughes earned his undergraduate degree from Augustana College, M.M. from Northern Illinois University, and D.M.A. from the University of Iowa. He is grateful to his teachers Timothy Stalter, Eric Johnson, Jon Hurty, and Michael Zemek.
For more information, please visit his website: www.johnchughes.com.