Norman Johnson of 190 Idlewild Drive, died Tuesday, Sept. 10, at his home.

He was born Nov. 12, 1928, in Oneida, New York, to James Kenneth and Mildred (Sevy) Johnson.Johnson was the founder of Piedmont Opera Theatre and for the past 18 years has served as its only general director.

He also served as director of opera at the North Carolina School of the Arts since 1968. In his 40-year career, he was also the director of the Denver Lyric Opera.

Johnson graduated from the Julliard School, as one of New York City's leading accompanists, playing for such artists as Mack Harrell, Rise Stevens, Robert McFerrin and Judith Ruskin.

Since moving to North Carolina, he guest conducted for the Greensboro Opera, he conducted ``The Nutcracker' ballet for the Charlotte and Winston-Salem Symphonies, Broadway musicals for the North Carolina Summer Festival and the gala opening of the Roger L. Stevens Center for the Performing Arts.

In 1980, he ended a five-year tenure as conductor of the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorale to devote more time to the expanding activities of the Piedmont Opera Theatre.

He is survived by his wife, Matilda Nickel. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to the Piedmont Opera Endowment Fund, c/o Winston-Salem Foundation, 310 W. Fourth St., Suite 229, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27101-2889.

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