Clinicians and Guest Artists
Curtis E. Johnson, Featured Guest Artist
Curtis Johnson, retired Associate Professor of Music at West Virginia University, had been on the WVU faculty for twenty years. He received his Master of Music degree in saxophone performance from West Virginia University and his Bachelor of Music Degree from West Liberty State College. Curtis has been an adjunct faculty member at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and West Liberty State University in West Virginia. Mr. Johnson's career continues to thrive as performer, soloist, clinician, adjudicator, and conductor.
Classically, Mr. Johnson has performed on numerous North American Saxophone Alliance Conference programs, World Saxophone Congress programs, and national Saxophone Symposium programs. He has performed as soloist with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and worked as arranger and performer with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra and substitute performer for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Johnson is the founding member of The Traverser Saxophone Quartet. This quartet gives numerous performances each year, sponsors the annual Traverser Saxophone Symposiums, and completed a tour of Central Europe in spring 2005.
Mr. Johnson is also a renowned R&B performer. He has performed for such performers as Ray Charles, Little Anthony, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Isaac Hayes, Lou Rawls, The Spinners, B. J. Thomas, Tony Orlando and Dawn, Dionne Warwick, Martha Reeves, Cheryl Lynn, and numerous other stars.
Mr. Johnson has been recorded on over 80 CD's including jazz, blues, rock, and R&B. He has also performed on, written, and produced numerous radio and TV commercials. Mr. Johnson currently performs with The Phoenix Jazz Project, which has recently completed two successful tours of Europe and performed on International Jazz Festivals in Russia in the fall of 2008 and 2009. In addition, Mr. Johnson performs with the newly-formed Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra under the direction of world-renowned trumpeter Sean Jones. 2009 saw Mr. Johnson returning to Russia for jazz festivals in April, August, and October. 2010 will see Mr. Johnson as guest classical and jazz artist at several high school and university events and returning to Russia for festival performances, club dates, and clinics.
As active as he has been in his performance career, Mr. Johnson has never left the classroom. Jazz education continues to be Mr. Johnson’s forte. He began his career as Director of Jazz Studies at West Virginia University, taking several large ensembles and small groups to regional conferences and national performances. He has conducted numerous all-star high school and college bands, including The 1996 Maryland All-State Jazz Ensemble. Mr. Johnson serves as Artistic Director for the Krakow (Poland) School for Jazz and Contemporary Music Summer Jazz Academy.
Creative Music Solutions, an organization run by Mr. Johnson since 2001, has sponsored numerous tours to Europe with various performing groups since 2002 and began sponsoring High School and College Jazz Ensemble tours to Europe during the summer 2005.
Mr. Johnson is an Artist/Clinician for the Yamaha Corporation of America Band and Orchestra Division.
Brian Rhodes, Guest Lecturer
Brian Rhodes was born in Arkansas where he taught instrumental music in an award-winning band program for nine years before moving on to become a Texas band director. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway where he received his Bachelor of Music Education Degree and where he studied saxophone with Dr. Jackie Lamar. He received his masters degree in saxophone performance at McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana where he studied saxophone with Rick Condit and composition with Keith Gates. He has published many works with Twin Towers Music Publications including accessible concert repertoire, concert marches, solos, and ensembles. Many of his compositions were recently selected for inclusion on the Arkansas School Band and Orchestra Association (ASBOA) Required Concert Contest Music List. Rhodes' compositions are noted for being very accessible for young bands or for bands with limited instrumentation without losing educational or artistic integrity.
Dr. Todd Goranson
Asst. Professor of Saxophone, A&M-Commerce
Dr.Todd Goranson, Assistant Professor Saxophone and Bassoon and Jazz Ensemble Director at Texas A&M University-Commerce, is a native of the Pacific Northwest. He holds the Bachelor of Music degree (Saxophone and Bassoon Performance) and the Master of Music degree (Saxophone Performance) from the Lionel Hampton School of Music at the University of Idaho and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree (Bassoon Performance) from West Virginia University. Dr. Goranson has held previous teaching positions at Frostburg State University, the University of Idaho and the Cumberland Music Academy.
Dr. Goranson's diverse 2009 schedule included chamber and solo performances at the World Saxophone Congress XV in Bangkok, Thailand, the 2009 Conference of the International Double Reed Society in Birmingham, UK, the SMM Sommarmusikskola in Jonkoping, Sweden, Thailand, and the the Dallas Wind Symphony Summer Music Institute.
His recent symphonic saxophone engagements have included performances with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Plano Symphony, Irving Symphony, Shepherd School Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of Triforia Winds. An active saxophonist in jazz and popular idioms, he has performed with artists including Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, Sandi Patti, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, and performed regularly with the Billy Price Band. During his time in Texas, he has been a featured jazz saxophone soloist with the Plano Symphony for concerts at the Eisemann Center and Meyerson Hall, receiving praise from the Dallas Morning News. Dr. Goranson has taught saxophone master classes at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, Oklahoma State University, and Southern Arkansas University. He has adjudicated for state solo & ensemble competitions in Texas (2005-date) and Idaho, was the director/clinician of the 2009 TMEA Region 3 and 2007 ATSSB Region 3 All-Region jazz ensembles, and is a Board Member (Jazz) for the College Music Society South Central Region.. He has been the director of the Texas A&M University Jazz Ensembles since January 2006.
Also an accomplished bassoonist, Dr. Goranson performs with the symphony orchestras of Irving, Plano, Texarkana, Longview, Shreveport, and the Dallas Wind Symphony. He has also performed with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco (Mexico), Marshall Symphony (TX), West Virginia Symphony, the Kingsport Symphony (TN), the Westmoreland Symphony (PA), and Opera Roanoke (VA). His principal saxophone teachers include Robert Miller, Barry Bergstrom and Curtis Johnson, and his bassoon teachers have included Ronald Klimko, Terry Ewell, and Winston Collier.