Wind Ensembles of Cornell University's Department of Music


Cynthia Johnston Turner is an active conductor, conducting and ensemble clinician, and speaker in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Canada.

Cynthia Johnston Turner

Before joining the Cornell faculty in the fall of 2004, Cynthia taught at the University of Rochester (River Campus), where she directed the Wind Symphony, and served as Director of Music at Parkside High School, Dundas, Canada. Earlier in her career Cynthia taught middle school beginning instrumental music in Toronto and choral music in Switzerland. She currently serves as a faculty member with the summer Performing Arts Institute at Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Seminary and as a conductor with the Syracuse Society of New Music, the Austrian Festival Orchestra and the Paris Lodron Ensemble in Salzburg.

Cynthia Johnston Turner

A Canadian, Cynthia completed her Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Education degrees at Queens University and her Master of Music in music education and conducting at the University of Victoria. Touring with her ensembles inspired her master’s thesis on the musical and personal transformations that occur on tours, and her D.M.A. thesis at the Eastman School of Music centered on Dialogues and Entertainments by William Kraft, one of this generation’s leading composers. At Eastman, Cynthia was the recipient of the Eastman Graduate Teaching Award in conducting.  She received the National Leadership in Education Award (Canada), the Excellence in Education Award (Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation), and the Marion Drysdale Leadership Among Women Teachers Award (also from OSSTF).

At Cornell, Cynthia is the Director of Wind Ensembles, overseeing the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Chamber Winds, and other chamber ensembles. She also serves as faculty advisor to CU Winds, a student-driven organization devoted to the promotion and performance of wind music. Cynthia has commissioned numerous new works for wind band and she continues to actively promote commissions by today’s leading composers around the world. She works closely with the Cornell DMA candidates in composition to help present their new works for wind ensemble in concert and in recordings.  Under her direction, the Wind Ensemble was invited to perform at the College Band Directors National Association’s Eastern Division Conference in 2007 and 2012. In 2008, the Merrill Presidential Scholars at Cornell recognized Cynthia as an outstanding educator, and in 2009, she was awarded the Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship. Ensembles under her direction have been praised by such composers as Steven Stucky, William Kraft, Steven Bryant, Dana Wilson, Roberto Sierra, and Karel Husa.

Since January 2006, Cynthia has led the Cornell Wind Ensemble on biennial performing and service tours to Costa Rica that include performances across the country, conducting masterclasses with Costa Rican teachers, instrument masterclasses for Costa Rican children, and the donation of over 250 instruments to music schools across the country.

Among other recent engagements, Cynthia has guest conducted the Provincial Honor Bands of Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario, as well as the National Youth Band of Canada, Concordia Santa Fe (, the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble, the Eastman Wind Ensemble, the Kentucky Honor Band, the New Jersey Honor Band, the Latin American Honor Band, the National Band of Costa Rica (San Jose), the National Orchestra of Heredia, the Montclair State Wind Ensemble, SUNY Fredonia Wind Ensemble, and numerous state honor bands. Cynthia is a beta-tester for Google Glass and is researching the wearable technology’s implications for music, conducting pedagogy, and performance.


Office: 340 Lincoln Hall, Cornell University Music, Ithaca, NY 14850
Email: cpj6 {at} cornell(.)edu
Phone: (607) 255-3712

Upcoming Engagements

June 2014 Speaker, CBDNA Music Education Conference
May 2014
Austrian Festival Orchestra, Salzburg
April 2014  National Youth Wind Ensemble of Great Britain
March, 2014 Tioga County All-State Band
February 2014 Conducting Clinician/Speaker, Washington Music Educator’s Association
February 2014 Speaker, EDUCASE, New Orleans
February 2014 Judge, Setnor School of Music Concerto Competition
January-May 2014
 Ithaca College Acting Director of Bands (Sabbatical Replacement)
December 2013 Midwest Band and Orchestra Rehearsal Clinician
September-October 2013 Eastman School of Music, Wind Ensemble Conductor (Sabbatical Replacement)