Youth Conservatory

Faculty Directory

Youth Conservatory Teachers 2014-2015


Robyn Abrahamson

Arthur Floyd

Michael Lechner

BreAna Shaw

Jacqueline Winterton

Eliza Nelson

Josh Musselman

Jeff Gubler

Alexis Hansen


Brittany Jarman

Brittney Mattison

Lisa Richards

Sierra Summers

Shanelle Winkel

Taylor Packer

Tisha Santana

Samantha Bunderson



Mark Gubler

Sara Mason







Lauren Belliston

Brody Craney

Krystal Kunz

Lizzy Prettyman

John Price

Aubrey Moeller

Allison Ward



Gary Amano – Founder, USU Piano Program Head

Emily Ezola – YC Program Coordinator

Luke Hancock – USU Piano Faculty

Brooke Hirst  – Account Manager

Dennis Hirst – Director; USU Piano Faculty

Kevin Olson – USU Piano Faculty

Jessica Roderer -- USU YC Theory Instructor

Ewa Wilczynski – YC Theory Instructor


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R. Dennis Hirst

R. Dennis Hirst

Location:  FAC 203
Office Phone:  435.797.3257
Faculty Status:  Program Director; USU Piano Faculty

R. Dennis Hirst enjoys a diverse musical career as an educator, performer, and arts administrator. Mr. Hirst holds degrees in Bassoon Performance, Piano Performance, and Piano Pedagogy, received as a summa cum laude graduate of Bowling Green State University and the University of Oklahoma. An accomplished musician on two instruments, Mr. Hirst’s performance career reflects his varied musical interests: solo & collaborative piano performances; solo, concerto, & orchestral bassoon performances; and piano & bassoon chamber music performances. Recent activities include two world premieres: Ophelia in Seville by Miguel del Aguila and the modern performance edition of Christian Ludwig Dietter’s Concerto Concertant No. 1 for two bassoons and orchestra, edited and restored by R. Dennis Hirst. Mr. Hirst places a strong emphasis on teaching in his career, maintaining a large studio of both pre-college and university piano and bassoon students. Students of Mr. Hirst have received top honors in state, regional, national, and international competitions including the State of Utah Sterling Scholar Music Competition, the International Festival for Creative Pianists at the Albertson College of Idaho, and the Music Teachers National Association Young Artist Performance Competitions. His students frequently appear as concerto soloists with school, community, and professional orchestras, including the Utah Valley Symphony and Utah Symphony orchestras. Additionally, his students have been admitted to prestigious summer music festivals and graduate programs at Arizona State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of South Carolina, and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. As a clinician and performer, Mr. Hirst has appeared at the 6th, 7th, and 11th World Piano Pedagogy Conferences, the Las Vegas Music Festival, and the Gina Bachauer International Piano Festival. He receives regular invitations to present master classes and lectures for state and local chapters of the Music Teachers National Association. Mr. Hirst has adjudicated the Gina Bachauer International Amateur Piano Competition, state and regional performance competitions of the Music Teachers National Association, and the Idaho Falls Symphony Orchestra Young Artist competitions. Mr. Hirst is published in the American Music Teacher, and he is currently completing editorial work on the modern performance edition of a formerly lost 18th century concerto for two bassoons and orchestra. His edition has been accepted for publication by TrevCo Music Publishing. Mr. Hirst is an active arts administrator. He is the Administrative Director of the Utah State University Youth Conservatory, a pre-college piano instruction program that provides weekly group and private instruction to more than 200 community students. The Youth Conservatory has been recognized by the National Association of Schools of Music as a model pre-college piano instruction program. Mr. Hirst is also the Artistic and Administrative Director of the Wassermann Festival, a bi-annual piano festival held on the campus of Utah State University. Since his appointment as festival director in 1997, Mr. Hirst has developed the Wassermann Festival into a major international piano festival, bringing the world’s foremost pianists and pedagogues to Utah State University. A representative listing of festival guest artists presented during Mr. Hirst’s tenure as director includes: Leon Fleisher, Douglas Humpherys, Norman Krieger, E.L. Lancaster, Jerome Lowenthal, Jane Magrath, Charles Rosen, and Krystian Zimerman. Next year’s Wassermann Festival, scheduled February/March 2008, will feature guest artists Randall Faber, Stephen Hough, Yundi Li, and Robert McDonald. Mr. Hirst currently resides in Logan, Utah, where he is an Associate Professor of Music at Utah State University. During summer 2007, he travels to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire to join the Heifetz International Music Institute as Interim Associate Director.