David Johnson, Artistic Director
Summer Music Workshops Artistic Director
David Johnson won a position in the viola section of the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic as a high school senior. Awarded a scholarship to attend Butler University (Indianapolis), he transferred after two years to Indiana University, where he completed, with high distinction, bachelors and masters degrees in viola performance. While a student at Indiana, he performed a series of concerts in New York’s Carnegie Recital Hall with the Indiana University Doctoral String Quartet.
After graduating from college, David was appointed Principal Viola of the Iceland Symphony, where he was featured as soloist numerous times with pianist Debra Gold on the Iceland National Radio. David then returned to the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic, serving as Principal Violist for 9 years. While there, he was a founding member of the Freimann String Quartet and the Northeastern Indiana Chamber Music Festival. David was also appointed Assistant Principal Violist of the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago for 12 years, soloing with that orchestra in 1994.
In 1992, David joined the newly formed Langroise Trio, Artist in Residence at The College of Idaho, and is the principal violist of the Boise Philharmonic. He has performed concertos by J.C. Bach, J.S. Bach, Bartok, Berlioz, Mozart, Ranjbaran, Stamitz, Vaughn-Williams, and Walton with such orchestras as the Grant Park Symphony, Ft. Wayne Philharmonic, Atheneum Orchestra (Indianapolis), and the Boise Philharmonic In addition he has been a member of the South Bend Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, Owensboro Symphony, Ravinia Festival Orchestra, and the Northwest Indiana Symphony. He has been involved with the Sun Valley Orchestra and the Sun Valley Summer Music Workshops since 1998, and has served as the Artistic Director of the Summer Workshops since 2007.
David’s wife, Deborah Wynkoop, teaches music in the Nampa School District, and his sons all play instruments: Eric, the cello; Scott, the violin; and Greg, the string bass.
Leigh Heward was born and raised in Idaho. She was the 8th child born in a family of 9 children. Leigh started playing the piano at the early age of 6 and performed while growing up in numerous festivals earning high scores. In high school Leigh took an interest in vocal studies and decided to pursue vocal studies as her main instrument with a piano minor while in college. She directed her first choir at 17 and has directed several local choirs over the course of 17 years. She holds an associates degree in Piano and Vocal Performance and Music Education and continues to study privately.
Leigh has taught private voice and piano lessons for over 13 years and has been with the Sun Valley School of Music for 7 years. She is a member of the local Twin Falls Music Club, Music Teachers National Association, and National Association of Teachers of Singing. Many of her accomplishments include singing in Carnegie Hall under the direction of John Rutter, auditioning for and singing with the ACDA National Honors Choir in Miami Florida, as well as participating in festivals in San Francisco, Anaheim California, Portland Oregon, Spokane Washington, and Miami Florida. She recently competed in the National Association Teachers of Singing Artist Award (NATSAA) competition and placed 1st in the Idaho District and 2nd in Regionals consisting of the Intermountain Region including Canada.
Leigh is the mother of six children and currently resides in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Dr. Brian Hodges
Adjunct cello instructor
Cellist Brian Hodges is an active soloist, chamber musician, and teacher. With his wife, Betsi Hodges, he has given recitals across the US, Canada and Italy. They have premiered works by noted composers such as Lee Hoiby, Mark Olivieri, Carolyn Steinberg and were featured on a CD recording of the works of composer David H. Johnson. He has appeared as soloist with the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, the Boise State University Orchestra, and recently soloed in Seattle, WA with the Tuacahn Performing Arts High School Orchestra. In 2015, he will solo with the Boise Baroque Orchestra. He was a featured guest artist at the 2011 Elizabeth Cowling Cello Festival in Greensboro, NC.
He is a founding member of the Rothko Piano Trio, with Betsi Hodges on piano, and Jo Nardolillo on violin, which has performed nationwide and has commissioned several new works.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, he soloed with the San Antonio Symphony as a winner of the Young Artists Competition. He went on to study at the Eastman School of Music earning his Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance and stayed on to complete his Master of Music degree in cello performance where he was the teaching assistant to Marcy Rosen. While at Eastman, he was the founding member of the Genesis String Quartet, which had several residencies in the U.S., including Roberts Wesleyan College and a rural residency in Madisonville, KY, where they performed for over 10,000 schoolchildren.
Ensemble Conductor, Elementary Strings Instructor
Rebecca Martin is currently the Orchestra Director of the Wood River Middle and High School Orchestras in Hailey, Idaho. Rebecca started playing the violin at the early age of 3 and went on to earn two degrees a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education K-12 from Boise State University and a Master of Music in Violin Performance and String Pedagogy from East Carolina University. She has worked in the Boise Independent School District and the Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress, TX) Independent School District as Orchestra Director earning top honors for her groups in both areas. She is a certified Suzuki Violin Instructor and has been involved in the Idaho Suzuki strings for over 10 years. Rebecca currently resides in Bellevue, Idaho with her husband and three children and has been teaching in the Wood River Valley since 2010.
Piano Department Head
Sue Miller is Associate Professor of Piano and Music Theory at The College of Southern Idaho, where she joined the faculty in 1993. Previously she taught piano in her private studio. She holds a Bachelor of Music Degree from George Mason University, a Bachelor of Education degree from Idaho State University, and a Master of Music Degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy from Boise State University. She has performed solo and duo recitals in Twin Falls, Boise, and Sun Valley, ID. She is accompanist for the College of Southern Idaho Chamber Choir and previously Staff accompanist for the Magic Valley Chorale. She has accompanied numerous recitals for faculty and students in the past ten years. Sue has been teaching for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music since its beginnings in 2000. She has five children, eleven grandchildren and is married to CSI Choral Director, Carson Wong.
Education Programs Artistic Director
R.L. Rowsey has spent the last 30 years as both an artist and an advocate for the support of local arts organizations. R.L. has also served as musical director and conductor for many national tours, including productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Singing in the Rain, and Kiss of the Spiderwoman. In addition to his extensive work as a vocal coach, R.L. also held teaching positions with The Studio Conservatory of DC, The Kennedy Center’s Theatre for Young People,and The Columbia School of Theatrical Arts in Columbia, Maryland. For three years, R.L. served as General Manager for NETworks, one of the nation’s leading producers of national tours. Since moving to Idaho, R.L. has become an integral member of the local community. He is the musical director for Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center, is a member of the Hailey Arts Commission, served as Vice President of the Hailey Chamber of Commerce, and is currently the Artistic Director for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music.
Dr. Jennifer Sullivan
Violin-Viola Instructor, String Department Head
Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, currently String Department Head of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony Education Department Division and Adjunct Professor of upper strings at Northwest Nazarene University, is an accomplished performer, teacher, and arts administrator with experience across the United States and abroad. She has earned two violin performance degrees (BM/MMPRL) from the Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY, and her doctoral degree (DMA) from the University of Oregon in Eugene. Dr. Sullivan has appeared as soloist with the Eastman Philharmonia, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, Idaho State Civic Symphony, Treasure Valley Symphony, and Meridian Symphony. An avid chamber musician, Dr. Sullivan was a semi-finalist in the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition; and has worked with members of most of the leading quartets in the country. She has performed in numerous circuits of concert series in New York, San Francisco and Idaho, is consistently sought after to perform and teach at summer festivals and educational institutions, and has most recently performed a Prokofiev Sonata for Ballet Idaho center stage. An experienced concertmaster and leader, she has formerly held titled positions in the Eugene Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Corvallis Symphony, Pacific Chamber Symphony, Classical Philharmonic, North Bay Opera, West Bay Opera and the Fredonia Chamber Players. Dr. Sullivan has been teaching violin for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music for over 5 years.
Jim Watkinson, vocal coach, accompanist and composer, has a speckled musical career. He is a pianist, specializing in accompanying and in chamber music; a composer and arranger; and conductor with a great interest in choral music. He is a vocal coach with experience in opera and shows. He has also played string bass, cello and viola in various symphony and pit orchestras. Jim moved to the Wood River Valley 24 years ago, and was pianist and arranger for the Sun Valley Trio in the Lodge Dining Room at the Sun Valley Resort. He currently is accompanist and coach for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony School of Music and is assistant and accompanist for Max Stimac at Wood River Middle and High School.
The faculty for the School of Music are expert local and regional pedagogues who teach weekly private lessons and coach ensembles throughout the academic year. Teachers are dedicated professionals who are devoted to giving each student individualized attention. The Summer Music Institute faculty are comprised of School of Music teachers supplemented by regional instructors and musicians from the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.