Read about what inspired CARMINA BURANA!

Meet the man leading CARMINA BURANA’s 115-voice wall of sound

By Eva Kahn

Craig Hella Johnson’s legacy in the choral world is simply unparalleled. In addition to his talents as a composer, arranger, educator, speaker, and innovator, in 1991 Johnson founded the GRAMMY® Award-winning symphonic choir, Conspirare, an Austin-based and internationally acclaimed musical tour de force that creates dynamic art and deepens the connection between the performers and listeners.

With those credentials, it’s no wonder that in 2005 Ballet Austin’s Sarah & Ernest Butler Family Fund Artistic Director Stephen Mills invited Johnson and Conspirare to join him in creating CARMINA BURANA...

CARMINA BURANA: What's the score...with Maestro Peter Bay

By Eva Kahn

In the fall of 2005, Maestro Peter Bay raised his baton before the artists of Austin Symphony Orchestra, Conspirare Symphonic Choir, and Ballet Austin inside the Long Center for the Performing Arts. With a flick of his wrists, Bay launched into “O Fortuna,” one of the most famous musical opening movements in the world, as three performing arts organizations debuted Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills’ CARMINA BURANA...

CARMINA BURANA: Movement to match the music

By Eva Kahn

Carmina Burana is no exercise in easy listening. The curtain typically rises on two full choirs, including a boys’ choir, and a full orchestra. As if the stage wasn’t crowded enough, the composer Carl Orff originally intended this cantata to be performed with dance and theatrical elements.

In the fall of 2005, Ballet Austin’s artistic director, Stephen Mills, decided to take on this challenge and choreograph the ballet CARMINA BURANA and fully realize Orff’s vision for a mash-up of music, song, and dance. Mills’ production features 62 musicians from the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin’s full professional company of 22 dancers, and 115 GRAMMY® Award-winning voices from the Conspirare Symphonic Choir, directed by Craig Hella Johnson...

CARMINA BURANA: Why does that sound familiar?

By Eva Kahn

You probably know the first five chords of Carl Orff’s legendary Carmina Burana. They’re featured prominently in the movie Jackass, the song "Hate Me Now" by rappers Nas and Puff Daddy, a vintage commercial for Old Spice aftershave, and dozens of radio and TV promotions. While you’ve likely heard these notes used in many forms of popular entertainment, you may not have heard the story of what inspired them: the scandalous writings of some mischievous monks and a revolutionary composer who turned those musings into music...