Jerald Simon First and foremost, Jerald is a husband to his beautiful wife, Zanny, and a father to his wonderful children. Jerald Simon is the founder of Music Motivation® (musicmotivation.com), a company he formed to provide music instruction through workshops, giving speeches and seminars, and concerts and performances in the field of music and motivation. He is a composer, author, poet, and Music Mentor/piano teacher (primarily focusing his piano teaching on music theory, improvisation, composition, and arranging). Jerald loves spending time with his wife, Zanny, and their children. In addition, he loves music, teaching, speaking, performing, playing sports, exercising, reading, writing poetry and self help books, and gardening.
Jerald created musicmotivation.com as a resource for piano teachers, piano students, and parents of piano students. In 2008 he began creating his Cool Songs to help teach music theory – the FUN way by putting FUN back into theory FUNdamentals. In 2019 Jerald came out with his Cool Songs website: https://www.coolsongsclub.com/ to inspire and motivate piano students around the world. Jerald has also filmed hundreds of piano lesson video tutorials on his YouTube page (youtube.com/jeraldsimon) and has a monthly Cool Songs Subscription for piano teachers and piano students (studying with a teacher or independently). He is the author/poet of “The As If Principle” (motivational poetry), and the books “Perceptions, Parables, and Pointers”, “Motivation in a Minute”, and “Who Are You?”. Jerald is also the author of 24 music books from the Music Motivation® Series and has also recorded and produced several albums and singles of original music. You can listen to Jerald’s music on Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, and all online music stations. Jerald’s books and CDs are also available from Amazon.
June Christensen has always loved music. Upon getting piano lessons for her sixth birthday, she knew right then she wanted to be a piano teacher. She gained a solid music background studying with Martha Greene, Florence Brinton and Gladys Gladstone. Now June has been teaching piano for over 55 years, giving her first lessons at the age of 14 and continuing to maintain a large private studio.
June graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Music composite secondary education. To broaden her knowledge in teaching techniques, she has continued to attend music workshops and seminars around the country. She is certified in many programs including the Suzuki and Kindermusik methods.
In 1989, a pedagogy class taught by Dr. Paul Pollei inspired her to completely change her teaching style. Due to his influence, she began to create musical projects for her studio and soon began marketing them at state and national conventions. Today, her creative music teaching aids have grown to over 100 products that promote better reading, rhythm, vocabulary, theory skills, composer and history knowledge and special projects about the piano and practicing.
Lezlee Johnsen Bishop, NCTM, is an independent music teacher of over 40 years, with a degree in Piano Pedagogy from Utah State University, where she taught for several years in the Youth Conservatory and studied piano with Betty Beecher and Professor Gary Amano. After moving to Salt Lake City, she continued her piano study with Solveig Madsen, a student of Olga Samaroff, and Kira Merzhevskaya, formerly of the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia.
Lezlee has served locally in the Utah Music Teacher’s Association as Salt Lake Chapter president; UMTA state membership chair and state conference coordinator, as well as Utah MTA state president (2000 - 2002). She enjoys giving presentations and leading discussions with fellow teachers throughout her home state and in state and national MTNA conferences throughout the country. Nationally, she served a 4 year term as the MTNA Southwest Division Director, including 2 years on the MTNA Board of Directors (2008 to 2010). Lezlee has also served as chair of the MTNA Teacher Enrichment Grant committee, and led both the Independent Music Teacher and Arts Advocacy Forums; She was also chair of the MTNA Membership Committee and served on the MTNA One for All Committee. She was honored to receive the 2013 Legacy in Teaching Excellence Award from the Utah Music Teachers’ Association as well as being nominated as a 2015 MTNA Foundation Fellow for distinguished service to the music teaching profession.
Lezlee enjoys her UMTA/MTNA friendships and family, along with theater, church music service, singing, accompanying, and being inspired by great ideas and beautiful music. She believes that everyone can benefit from music study, and has worked to help her students and her own children become independent thinkers and well rounded musicians.
Viktor Valkov-- Winner of the 2015 Astral Artists National Auditions, and Gold medalist at the 2012 New Orleans International Piano Competition, Viktor Valkov has been highly acclaimed by the critics as “lion of the keyboard” and “sensational”. Among numerous chamber music and solo appearances, during the last few concert seasons Mr.Valkov also performed with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and West Virginia Symphony Orchestra.
Since 2002 Valkov has given a number of recitals in USA, Japan, China, England, Germany, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, and Macedonia. A Japanese tour in 2002 took him to Tokyo, Toyama, Yokohama and Okinawa. In Bulgaria, Viktor Valkov appeared in performances with most of the major orchestras and at most of the important music festivals. In 2003, he received an invitation from the New Symphony Orchestra, and conductor Rossen Milanov, to perform Dimitar Nenov’s Grande Piano Concerto.
Thus he became the fifth pianist to perform that concerto and the only one to do the entire version. In 2007, Mr.Valkov made his debut with the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra.
Mr.Valkov’s concert activities reflect a vast interest in the chamber music repertoire, as well as lesser known piano music. He frequently performs with the Bulgarian cellist, Lachezar Kostov, in a cello and piano duo. Both being deeply interested in broadening the repertoire for that medium, they often include in their programs composers like Kabalevsky, Roslavetz, Schnittke, Saint-Saens (the Second cello Sonata), and others. Their close friendship and professional collaboration began in 2000. In 2009, the Kostov-Valkov Duo gave their Carnegie Hall debut at Zankel Hall. In 2011 they won the Liszt-Garisson International Competition, where they were awarded First Prize, the overall Liszt Prize as well as all the special prizes in the collaborative artists category.
As a solo performer one of Mr.Valkov’s latest projects featured Busoni’s Fantasia Contrappuntistica as the focal point of his concert programs. During the 2011-2012 Viktor Valkov presented a program of music from the 1600’s including composers like Froberger, L Couperin, Frescobaldi, Buxtehude and selections from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book.
Mr.Valkov has made a number of recordings for the Bulgarian National Radio archive, many of which have been broadcast. He has also recorded for Bulgarian National Television and Macedonian Radio and Television. In 2008 he recorded the entire music for cello and piano by Nikolay Roslavets in collaboration with the cellist Lachezar Kostov. In 2013 he recorded the piano music of Dimitar Nenov. Both CD were released by NAXOS. A new CD released by Navona Records in 2015, also recorded with cellist Lachezar Kostov, features the duo’s own transcriptions of virtuosic piano pieces by Franz Liszt.
Viktor Valkov is currently a Visiting Professor of Piano at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Bridget McBride Johansen received her Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Pedagogy from Utah State University where she studied on a departmental scholarship in piano pedagogy. While at USU, Bridget was an instructor for the USU Youth Conservatory where she taught group theory and musicianship classes. She was awarded the Outstanding Youth Conservatory Classroom Assistant and the following year the Youth Conservatory Teacher of the Year. Bridget has been a member of Utah Music Teachers Association since 1993 and in 2003 received her national certification. Her students are regular prize winners at various piano competitions, including the Sandy MTA Piano Festival, the USU Piano Festival, the WSU Piano Festival, the Salt Lake Piano Competition, and the Utah Symphony Youth Guild. Bridget keeps current in her profession by regularly attending concerts, recitals, workshops, masterclasses, and lectures on piano teaching. She team teaches several students with former USU Director of Piano Studies, Gary Amano. Together, they have had two students perform in the Utah Symphony annual Salute to Youth concert. Bridget is married to Rob Johansen, who works as a software engineer. When she isn't teaching she keeps busy with home improvement projects, her gourmet cooking group and caring for her own children; Connor (age 7) and Olivia Grace (age 4).
Dr. Kimi Kawashima is currently the head of the piano department at Westminster College. Kim maintains a performing career of diverse interests and repertoire, regularly appearing as a pianist with the Grand Teton Music Festival, Utah Symphony, and NOVA Chamber Music Series. Her performances have taken her to the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Rothko Chapel. Kimi earned a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and DMA in Piano Performance at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. Her interests include 20th century music and examining music as expressive texts within historical, cultural and political contexts.
Gretchen A Tanner received a Bachelor of Music Degree with an emphasis on Piano Pedagogy from the University of Utah. She completed her Masters of Music Degree with emphasis on Piano Performance and Pedagogy from the University of Houston. Her teachers include: Janet Mann, Nancy Weems, Lenora Ford Brown and Reid Nibley.
Ms. Tanner has worked for the Preparatory Division at the University of Utah since 1997. She was appointed as the Director of the Preparatory Division in 2010. With a faculty of 25 teachers and over 300 students, the Preparatory Division offers lessons in Piano, Strings, Guitar, and Organ. Ms. Tanner also teaches the Beginning Piano classes as well as private students for the Division.
Ms. Tanner has additional responsibilities as the instructor for the Piano Pedagogy Class at the School of Music. The Pedagogy course offers college students hands on teaching experience with 1st through 3rd graders. She loves the challenge of teaching and enjoys working with the college students as they improve their skills.
She enjoys performing as part of the Little-Tanner Duo, in the Preparatory Division Faculty Concert, Temple Square Concert Series and School of Music Piano Faculty Concerts. She also accompanies local choirs and instrumentalists.
She is a member of the MTNA and Faculty advisor to the University of Utah Collegiate Chapter. She is an active adjudicator and presenter for the MTNA organization. She is also a member of the Youth Arts Division, College of Fine Arts. The Division strives to bring all the Arts into the lives of children through out the Salt Lake Valley
Ms. Tanner resides in Sandy with her husband and two daughters. She loves any activity that has to do with the mountains and spending time with her family.