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Helen Taylor papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 7829

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence including between Helen and her husband, photographs, newspaper clippings for Grant Johannesen, a scrapbook of Helen's funeral services, hand written notebooks and sketches of musical scores, and digital printouts of scores , program notes, University of Utah and Julliard diploma certificates, a CD of recordings of Helen Taylor compositions, and other papers relating to Helen Taylor, 1937-2003.


  • 1937-2003


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection open to public research.

Materials labelled confidential are restricted from publication.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the Helen Taylor papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

Biographical / Historical

Helen Taylor (1915-1950) was a pianist, composer, and faculty member at the Columbia Teachers College and McCune School.

Helen Taylor was born in 1915 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She studied piano at the McCune School of Music, after which she completed a Master's degree at Columbia University. She was on the faculty at Columbia Teachers College in the Fall of 1941 to the Spring of 1942. She attended Julliard from 1942-1945, which is where she composed her first symphony. It was also here that she met her future husband, Grant Johannesen, who was a worldclass concert pianist. Taylor and Johannesen were married and returned to Utah in 1946. The couple had one son, David. She later started working as a teacher for the McCune School and continued composing. She was recognized for her violin sonata in 1948 with a National Association of Composers and Conductors Award. She died on October 5, 1950 in a car accident.

Biographical / Historical

Grant Johannesen (1921-2005) was a prominant Mormon and American pianist and pedagogue.

Grant Johannesen was born on July 30, 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He started learning the piano when he was five after being discovered to be imitating a piano teacher and playing by ear. Between the years 1941 and 1946, he studied with Robert Casadesus at Princeton University and with Egon Petri at Cornell University. He also took courses in composition with Roger Sessions and Nadia Boulanger.

He made his concert debut in New York in 1944. In 1949, he won first prize at the Ostend Concours Internationale, which started his international career. He went on tour both as a soloist as part of an orchestra and as an indvidual performer. He toured Europe with Dimitri Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in 1956 and 1957, and then toured Europe with Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra in 1968. He was a frequent soloist with both the Cleveland Orchestra and Utah Symphony Orchestra. Grant Johannesen was particularly well know for his performances of American and French music, and recorded the complete piano works of Gabriel Fauré. He also composed some piano works. From 1960 to 1966 Grant Johannesen taught at the Aspen (Colorado) Music School, and in 1973 he became music consultant and adviser of the Cleveland Institute of Music. He later served as music director at the Cleveland Institute of Music from 1974 to 1977, and finally as its president from 1977 to 1985. He taught at the Mannes College of Music in New York and at the Salzburg Mozaneum.

Grant Johannesen was married to the composer Helen Taylor (whose works for piano were among his recordings) from 1943 until her death in an automobile accident in 1950. He was married to his second wife, the cellist Zara Nelsova (with whom he sometimes performed), from 1963 until their divorce in 1973. From his first marriage, he had a son, David Johannesen. He died on March 27, 2005.


4 oversize boxes (2 linear ft.)

2 boxes (1 linear ft.)


This collection retained its original order.

Custodial History

Donated by Grant Johannesen and Bev Sorensen in 2006.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Grant Johannesen and Bev Sorensen; 2006.


Noteworthy LDS composer (Section IV. LDS Music Archives Collection Development Policy January 2011).

Processing Information

Processed; Elizabeth West; May 2011.

Register of the Helen Taylor papers
Elizabeth West
2011 May 13
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States