Cor Cantiamo is a professional, 24-voice touring choral ensemble, founded with the mission to perform and promote contemporary choral music and foster new composers for the art form. Since their inception in the spring of 2009, the choir has emerged as an energetic and accomplished vocal ensemble, receiving accolades for their performances. Morten Lauridsen has praised the ensemble for presenting “choral artistry at its finest.”

Cor Cantiamo maintains an active touring concert season. Recent highlights include the 2018 Masterworks Outreach program at Vernon Hills High School in April 2018, the Illinois ACDA State Convention 2017, the Musica Viva Concert Series 2017, and regular events at NIU. Cor Cantiamo has performed multiple World and U.S. Premieres and works directly with composers around the world. The ensemble has developed an active and successful recording program. With an emphasis on recording contemporary works and collaborating with commissioned composers, Cor Cantiamo is establishing a significant artistic legacy.

Their 1st CD release, Canticum: Choral Music of Jaakko Mäntyjärvi (August 2014 Centaur Records), contains repertoire highlighting the profound compositional voice of Mäntyjärvi. This album also features Alarum Bells, a work commissioned by Dr. Johnson and premiered by Cor Cantiamo in 2012.

Their 2nd commercial release Psallite, (April 2016 Divine Arts), has received multiple positive reviews from magazines (Fanfare, American Record Guide) and leaders in the choral field, particularly noting the artistry and breadth of expression of the ensemble. It features many world premieres of new composers, and was produced in partnership with the SDG Music Foundation. The partnership between Cor Cantiamo and SDG exists to promote the newly commissioned works that have been generated through the SDG Psalms Project.

During the summer of 2016, Cor Cantiamo recorded their 3rd album, Psallite II, also in partnership with SDG Inc., and Abbey Road Studios, London. This is a Part 2 of the first Psallite album, featuring many more world premieres of new composers, as part of the SDG Psalms Project. Stay tuned for release dates!

Their 4th CD was recorded in May 2017 and features choral works by James Whitbourn, with Cor Cantiamo’s commissioned work, The Seven Heavens being the titular recording. This CD is still in the final production stages. Stay tuned for release dates!

Cor Cantiamo’s educational outreach objectives are continuing to come to fruition. The Masterworks project 2018 (Haydn: Lord Nelson Mass) was a huge success, partnering with the Vernon Hills and Adlai Stevenson High Schools  The Masterworks project is an educational outreach program established to introduce aspiring high school singers to choral/orchestral masterworks in a professional setting. During the project the high school chamber choirs have the opportunity to rehearse and perform side by side with the professional singers of Cor Cantiamo.

In May 2017, Cor Cantiamo performed the world premiere of The Wings of Our Children by American composer, Timothy Takach.

In May 2018, Cor Cantiamo performed the world premiere of When Did We See You? by American composer, Dominick DiOrio.

Cor Cantiamo is regularly featured on the Encore program, on the Classical WNIU Radio station (90.5 FM). Many of our concerts are recorded live by the radio station, and broadcast at a later date, with introductions and interviews about the music with our Artistic Director, Dr. Eric 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” means “choir” but  can also mean “heart”. “Cantiamo” is the Italian verb meaning “we sing.”  This name embraces the fundamental essence of the choir’s efforts.  They bring their voices together as one to sing with artistry,  passion and heart.


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

Deanna Tausch

Erin Truesdell

Claire Woerner

Toria Burrell

Emily Chlapik

Julie Dee

Adrianne Gallaugher-Beetstra

Janna Miller

Samantha Resser

Amy Schwartz

Mark Baglione

Alex Bahaveolos

Daniel Beetstra

Matthew Callahan

Cameron Cararra

Niall Casserly

Andrew Gust

Andrew Moore


Matthew Alfrey

Brian Balika

Dave Hartley

Jordan Pedigo

David Pfenninger

Michael Richards

Andrew Schneider

Eric A. Johnson, Founding Artistic Director and President

Lindy Arnett

Daniel Beetstra

Toria Burrell

JoEllyn Caulfield

Tom Fallon

Corey Paskiewicz

Amy Schwartz