Established in 2009 by Dr. Eric A. Johnson, Cor Cantiamo is a professional chamber choir whose creative programming and artistry weave contemporary music with choral masterworks to present concerts designed to inspire and engage audiences. This ensemble-in-residence at Northern Illinois University’s School of Music has achieved critical acclaim and recognition for their musicality, impassioned performances, and versatility.
The mission of Cor Cantiamo is to enrich and empower the community through performances of contemporary choral music, commissions, and music education outreach programs.
In addition to maintaining an active touring season, Cor Cantiamo strives to provide educational enrichment opportunities to local youth through their annual ILMEA Audition Workshop and Masterworks Project, an educational outreach program designed to introduce high school choral musicians to choral/orchestral masterworks in a professional setting.
Cor Cantiamo has performed multiple World and U.S. Premieres, and works directly with contemporary composers from around the world. Recent premieres include Verdad (2019) by Libby Larsen, When Did We See You? (2018) by Dominick DiOrio, The Wings of Our Children (2017) by Timothy Takach, and The Seven Heavens (2016) by James Whitbourn.
Cor Cantiamo has also developed an active and successful recording program with an emphasis on recording contemporary works and collaborating with commissioned composers.
The ensemble released their first commercial album, Canticum: Choral Music of Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (Centaur Records), in 2014, and the second commercial album Psallite, (Divine Arts Records), was released in 2016. The ensemble’s most recent album, The Seven Heavens, (Divine Arts Records) was recorded in May 2017 and was released in March 2020.
This ensemble has also been selected to perform at several American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) conferences, and is regularly featured on the Encore program on Classical WNIU’s radio station (90.5 FM). Many of their concerts are recorded live by the radio station, and broadcast at a later date, with introductions and interviews about the music with Founding Artistic Director, Dr. Eric A. Johnson.
Cor Cantiamo’s artistic activities are generously supported by private donors and the following foundations: Wurlitzer Foundation, The Douglas C. & Lynn M. Roberts Family Foundation, DeKalb County Community Foundation, DCNP-NGOLD Internship program, and the Cy Miller Family Foundation.
The name Cor Cantiamo was created from a fusion of Latin and Italian words. “Cor” traditionally translates to “choir”, though it can also translate to “heart”. “Cantiamo” is the Italian verb meaning “we sing.”  The name Cor Cantiamo embraces the fundamental essence of this ensemble’s efforts. The members of Cor Cantiamo bring their voices together as one to sing with artistry, passion and heart.
Cor Cantiamo performs at the American Choral Director’s Association (ACDA) Central and North Central Division Conference in Milwaukee, WI on March 5th, 2020.
Cor Cantiamo performs their 2020 Masterworks Project selection, Edward Elgar’s Sea Pictures arranged by Donald Fraser, with students from Yorkville High School in Yorkville, IL on February 16th, 2020.  
Cor Cantiamo’s most recent album, The Seven Heavens, was released on March 13th, 2020 from Divine Arts Records. 


Eric A. Johnson D.M.A. is the Founding Artistic Director of Cor Cantiamo and Director of Choral Activities at Northern Illinois University. Ensembles under his direction have performed at multiple national and division conventions for the National Collegiate Choral Organization, American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference. He has served as a guest conductor at Avery Fisher Hall Lincoln Center (2013, 2009), toured internationally (England 2010 and 2006, Sweden and Denmark 2004, Poland 2002), and prepared choruses for collaborations with professional orchestras.

Internationally, Johnson has served as a guest conductor of the Clare College Chapel Choir (Cambridge, England), taught at Makumira University (Arusha, Tanzania), the Universidade do Estado do Rio Grande do Norte (Natal, Brazil), and directed guest choral residencies at Canterbury and Worcester Cathedrals.  As the Artistic Director of Cor Cantiamo, Johnson has recorded commercial CDs released on Centaur Records and the Divine Arts record labels.  He has collaborated with many leading composers of our time including Morten Lauridsen, Libby Larsen, Sir John Tavener, Jaakko Mäntyjärvi, James Whitbourn, Timothy Takach, and Stacey Gibbs.

Dr. Johnson has published music with Santa Barbara Music Publishing, served as a music editor for Earthsongs Publications, and has published articles in the Choral Journal.  He is active nationally as a clinician and guest conductor for high school and collegiate honor choirs, including Head Line Clinician for the Michigan ACDA state Conference, conductor for the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association Collegiate Honor Choir and the Wisconsin School Music Association Women’s All-State Choir.

JoEllyn Caulfield

Sarah Murray

Jenilyn Roether

Claire Seedorf

Deanna Tausch

Erin Truesdell

Lena Burke

Emily Chlapik

Adrianne Gallaugher-Beetstra

Mihcal McClelland

Janna Miller

Amy Schwartz

Nicole Tolentino

Mark Baglione

Daniel Beetstra

Matthew Callahan

Cameron Carrara

Niall Casserly

Matthew Alfrey

Brian Balika

David Hartley

Jordan Pedigo

David Pfenninger

Michael Richards

Michael Thoms

Eric A. Johnson, Founding Artistic Director and President

Daniel Beetstra

Sarah Castro

JoEllyn Caulfield

Deana Eberly

Tom Fallon

Amy Schwartz

Deanna Tausch