I’ve been surrounded by all kinds of music as long as I can remember. One grandma sang church and children’s music, and I took to heart their messages of love, kindness, and sharing good things. My other grandmother loved the opera and I still sit in the seats at the Capitol Theatre where we cried over the fates of Verdi’s and Puccini’s heroines. My dad listened to the country radio station where all you needed was “three chords and the truth”. My mother—a fine pianist, herself—practiced Chopin, Mozart, and Debussy. She was my first teacher, starting my music lessons when I was five years old.
A few years later, she enrolled me in the Youth Conservatory at Utah State University, where I studied with Charlene Shelzi Jarvis and Annette Colledge. I was a student at Weber State University where I studied Piano Performance and Pedagogy with Drs. Ralph van der Beek and Yu-Jane Yang. I fell in love with collaborative music while at Weber State, where I was employed as an accompanist for the Ballet Department (Joanne Lawrence, Amanda Sowerby), the Voice Department (Karen Brookens Bruestle), the String Department (Viktor Uzur), and the Musical Theatre Department (Jim Christian, Bradley Vieth). I was a founding member of the piano trio, Tria Fata. We performed around the country at festivals including the Green Lake Chamber Music Festival (Vermeer String Quartet, Amelia Piano Trio), the Northern Lights Music Festival (Veda Zuponic, Marina Horak, Thom Rosenburg), and the MTNA Chamber Music Competitions (National Finalists, 2010).
I've just started work as the Company Pianist at Ballet West, which has been a phenomenal experience! More recently, I have been employed as a Collaborative Pianist by the Sid and Mary Foulger Chamber Music Festival (Dr. Jean Barr, Lydia Artymiw, Shi-Hwa Wang), SummerSong (Kimi Kawashima), the Department of Musical Theatre Voice Studios (University of Utah), Imagine Ballet Theatre (Raymond van Mason), and a number of theater companies across the USA. Currently, I’m the Acting Artistic Director for NEXT Ensemble, a chamber music collective in Ogden, UT, where we hope to transform the concert experience by creating engaging musical programs in spaces where you wouldn’t expect to hear formal art music (read: chamber music in a bar!!!).
Gabriel Gordon has enjoyed a varied career conducting professional, community and youth orchestras for 16 years. He made his professional conducting debut with the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea in 1998, and soon after formed the Chamber Orchestra at Tower Hill. Mr. Gordon has guest conducted the Santa Fe Symphony and Chatter, a Chamber Ensemble, as well as the All-State Orchestra in Oklahoma City.
As a violinist, Gabriel studied with Eugene Drucker and Jascha Brodsky, and has performed for 30 years with many orchestras such as the American Symphony, the Santa Fe Symphony, and the New Mexico Philharmonic. Mr. Gordon is a founding member of the Daponte String Quartet, and Trio Excelsior!
Gabriel served as conductor of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony since 2007, leading the orchestra in tours to Chicago, Australia, Austria, and in 2014 to Carnegie Hall in New York City. In August of 2013, The Santa Fe Opera and The Albuquerque Youth Symphony collaborated in a fully staged production of the opera Noah’s Flood by Benjamin Britten with Mr. Gordon as the conductor to wide acclaim.
As Music Director of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program from 2009-2014, Mr. Gordon presided over the purchase of a rehearsal facility, and a subsequent expansion that nearly doubled the ensembles in the program including choral ensembles, a guitar ensemble, a third high school orchestra, and a training ensemble for students who wish to become professional musicians.
In 2015, Mr. Gordon became Artistic Director of the NEXT Ensemble, conductor of the Davis Youth Symphony, and is also a violinist with Chamber Orchestra Ogden, as well as the New American Philharmonic.
Originally from New York City, Gabriel studied with some of the great luminaries of conducting including Kenneth Kiesler, Gustav Meier, Harold Farberman, David Gilbert, and Jonathan Strasser.
Sunny Johnson is a committed performer, collaborator, and educator in the Salt Lake Valley. She is a founding member of the Rosco String Quartet and has been coached by some of the world's greatest chamber musicians, including the Fry Street Quartet, the Muir Quartet, Joel Krosnick, Ronald Copes, Philip Setzer, and Nicholas Mann. Sunny enjoys teaching students of all ages and is Adjunct Viola Professor at Salt Lake Community College. She also enjoys a career as an orchestral player, and currently performs with the Ballet West orchestra and as a regular substitute for the Utah Symphony.
Sunny earned her Master’s Degree in Viola Performance from the University of Utah, where she studied with the Utah Symphony’s Assistant Principal Violist, Roberta Zalkind. She also graduated from Utah State University where she studied with Bradley Ottesen and Russell Fallstad of the Fry Street Quartet. She played as Principal Viola in the University of Utah and Utah State University Symphonies and received the Hansen Scholarship, the Russell Orchestra String Scholarship, the New Century Scholarship, and the Boguslavsky Scholarship.