Meet our Music Director
John C. Hughes, D.M.A., is honored to serve as Music Director of Chicago Master Singers and to continue 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 CMS, he is also the Director of Choral Programs at the Green Lake Festival of Music in Wisconsin, where he conducts the annual Choral Institute and is the founding conductor of the Composer Residency. Additionally, he frequently serves as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator.
Each season, Hughes performs a wide variety of repertoire, including beloved choral-orchestral and unaccompanied works from many eras, as well as world premieres. As a strong advocate for living composers, he has commissioned new works from Dale Trumbore, Elaine Hagenberg, and Reena Esmail, and has premiered additional pieces by Tim Blickhan and Wayland Rogers. Since the Green Lake Composer Residency’s inception in 2018, he is honored to have collaborated with luminary composers Ola Gjeilo, Shawn Kirchner, Morten Lauridsen, Elaine Hagenberg, and Reena Esmail.
In addition to his busy conducting schedule, he enjoys writing and scholarship. His book, Letters to a Young Conductor: Thoughts on Music and Life, is available in print and on Apple Books. He has authored peer-reviewed articles in the Choral Journal, The Choral Scholar, and The Diapason, has written numerous reviews of choral music, books, and recordings, and has created a modern edition of Leonhard Lechner’s 1593 Passion setting. For several years, he hosted Choir Chat, a weekly podcast of interviews with composers and conductors.
Hughes previously served as a college professor and department chair, church musician, and K-12 music teacher. He earned his undergraduate degree from Augustana College, M.M. from Northern Illinois University, and D.M.A. from the University of Iowa.
For more information, please visit his website: www.johnchughes.com.