Skip to main content
Art Views

Reno Jazz Orchestra Welcomes Dr. Greg Johnson

Published May 10, 2024

Reno Jazz Orchestra Welcomes Dr. Greg Johnson

by Chuck Reider

On Friday May 3, 2024, the Reno Jazz Orchestra entered a new era for the organization as we welcomed and introduced our new Music Director, Dr. Greg Johnson, and also introduced our new headquarters and jazz education facilities. 

Our music director search has taken place over the last year. Four candidates had the opportunity to prepare and conduct an RJO concert. All four did a great job with the orchestra, but it was Greg’s skill directing the orchestra, performing on the tenor saxophone, and all his excellent and creative arrangements that made him stand out. We look forward to working with him and seeing what new directions he can take us. 

Photo: Greg Johnson Conducts the RJ

Greg Johnson grew up in Pennsylvania near Penn State University. His grandmother, Kim Kimberly, was a big band singer who worked with Mel Torme, and Hoagy Carmichael gave her away at her wedding. Johnson believes the music gift skipped a generation as the rest of his family entered the military.

Johnson was scheduled to go to the Naval Academy but took a different path. His jazz influence began with Marty Paich’s arrangements, which began to slowly open the music world to him. Early on, he knew he wanted music to be his life. Johnson went to the University of Northern Colorado, getting his doctorate at the University of Southern California (USC) to hone his craft.

His distinctive saxophone sound has found its way into multiple genres of Jazz, Classical, and Popular music. As a saxophonist, Johnson has appeared in concerts and on over 40 mainstream recordings with jazz legends Curtis Fuller, Billy Taylor, Bob Mintzer, and many more. He has released seven recordings under his name and has contributed to dozens more.

He is also a dynamic teacher of ensembles and improvisation and has kept an active schedule as a clinician and guest composer/saxophonist. He is praised for his relatable, organic approach to music.

To learn more about Greg and his impressive music resume, please visit our website at

We are also very excited about our new home at the Note-Able Music Therapy Services building. The Note-Ables have done a fantastic job remodeling the building, and our classroom in the facility will allow us to rehearse and hold music education classes to inspire the next generation. 

I have been involved with the RJO since its inception in 1997, becoming the Music and Executive Director in 2006. I directed the orchestra for sixteen years. Standing in front of such a fantastic ensemble and directing it is the greatest place on earth. 

The RJO is grateful to have so many supporters helping us bring great jazz and jazz education to our community. This support is invaluable in growing the reach of the RJO into new places, new music, and new education opportunities. Jazz is America’s original music art form! 

We are now planning concerts during Artown, both in Reno and in Tahoe. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming concerts this year.

Chuck Reider is the Reno Jazz Orchestra Board President

More from Chuck Reider

Reno Jazz Festival – 62 Years of Great Jazz by Chuck Reider — April 5, 2024

The Reno Jazz Orchestra’s Conductor Search Finale by Chuck Reider — March 1, 2024

A Year full of Joy by Chuck Reider — December 22, 2023

Such Sweet Tribute by Chuck Reider — November 10, 2023

Meet the Musicians of the RJO by Chuck Reider — August 25, 2023

Hot House A Night at the Savoy by Chuck Reider — July 21, 2023

Two Great Reno Events by Chuck Reider — May 12, 2023

The Reno Jazz Orchestra – Presents! by Chuck Reider — April 7, 2023

Welcome Tim Young, the Reno Jazz Orchestra’s new Executive Director by Chuck Reider — March 3, 2023

Jazz in the Schools 2023: Fostering a Love of Jazz by Chuck Reider — January 27, 2023

Creative Direction in Jazz by Chuck Reider — October 14, 2022

Meet Reno Jazz Orchestra co-founder Tony Savage  by Chuck Reider — September 16, 2022

What is jazz orchestra? by Chuck Reider — August 19, 2022

Hotter Than July by Chuck Reider — July 25, 2022

Meet John Bennum, the Reno Jazz Orchestra's new Executive Director by Chuck Reider — June 24, 2022

Making Music in the New Millennium by Chuck Reider — April 29, 2022

Beating the Blues: Reno Jazz Festival is Back by Chuck Reider — April 1, 2022

Additional ART VIEWS Contributors