Sunny Johnson began her studies on the viola at age 10 and avidly continued her musical endeavors, focusing primarily on orchestral experiences throughout her pre-college years. As a high school student, she played as Principal Viola of the Utah All-State Orchestra, Assistant Principal Viola of Lyceum Youth Orchestra, and as a section member of the Orchestra at Temple Square.
In 2012, she graduated from Utah State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Viola Performance, where she studied with accomplished musicians such as Bradley Ottesen and Russell Fallstad of the Fry Street Quartet. While there, she played as Principal Viola in the Utah State University Symphony and received the Hansen Scholarship, the Russell Orchestra String Scholarship, and the New Century Scholarship. She was also a finalist in the Utah State Concerto Competition.
Sunny is a devoted music instructor, and has taught private lessons to violin and viola students for eight years. She began her pedagogical training with a course and set of masterclasses from Mimi Zweig and continued her training with a Suzuki based course with Yi Ching Fedkenheur. She then furthered her pedagogy education with Hasse Borup at the University of Utah. She is trained in the techniques of Shinichi Suzuki, Mimi Zweig, and Paul Rolland for beginning students and utilizes techniques of Ivan Galamian for advanced students. She has also studied theory pedagogy with Bruce Quaglia and enjoys incorporating theory and ear-training elements into private lessons. She is an active member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas and has completed Suzuki teacher training workshops. She also has experience in group pedagogy settings gained from teaching elementary orchestras and violin classes in the Cache and Salt Lake valleys.
Chamber music has been a large and important part of Ms. Johnson’s career. From 2008-2012 she received intensive weekly chamber coachings from members of the prestigious Fry Street Quartet. In 2012 she joined the Rosco String Quartet, the premiere graduate string quartet of the University of Utah. In March 2014 Rosco Quartet won first place in the National MTNA String Chamber Competition in Chicago. They also participated in the Juilliard Quartet Seminar, the Robert Mann String Quartet Workshop, and the Deer Valley Emerging Quartets and Composers Program. As part of these programs they were privileged to study with esteemed musicians such as the Muir Quartet, Joan Tower, Philip Setzer, Robert Mann, Nicholas Mann, Joel Krosnick, and Ronald Copes. They were invited to perform on the “Highway 89” radio program several times and were named the 2013-2014 NOVA Chamber Series Young Artists Ensemble. Rosco String Quartet enjoys promoting musical awareness in educational settings, and they often perform in public school outreach concerts. In fall 2014, Ms. Johnson joined an additional string quartet, the USU Alumni Quartet, which focused on educational performances and chamber coachings for Cache Valley School District.
In spring 2014, Sunny graduated with 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. While at the University of Utah, Ms. Johnson was invited to be a member of the Graduate String Quartet, and was coached by Hasse Borup.
Sunny continues to perform regularly as a soloist and with Rosco String Quartet. She plays on a viola made by Jacek Zadlo in 2010 and a fine French bow made by Morizot.
In her spare time Sunny enjoys skiing, hiking, gardening, and teaching her dog funny tricks.
My basic teaching philosophy is that anyone can learn to communicate through music. Whether you are a beginner or have been playing for many years, I believe that the purpose of music is always to express yourself. Elements such as technique, theory, ear-training, and tone production are tools that I strive to build, giving the student the ability to communicate the unique things that he or she has to say.
I teach using the methods of Suzuki, mixed in with traditional methods such as Galamian, DeLay, and Rolland. I largely use the Suzuki books, combined with scales, etudes, and other supplementary solo material. I'm always happy to help a student learn any piece they are excited about (if it is on their playing level), or help with orchestra music.