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Grant Norman Johannesen autobiography

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 7939

Scope and Contents

Collection contains a draft of an autobiography by Grant Norman Johannesen entitled "Journey of an American Pianist", 2006.


  • 2006


Conditions Governing Access

Open to public research.

Conditions Governing Use

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

Permission to publish material from the Grant Norman Johannesen autobiography must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.

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.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged according to the order of the manuscripts.

Custodial History

This collection was donated by Walter B. Rudolph in 2011 after a radio profile he co-produced with Jacqueline Tateishi and after gaining permission to obtain them from the University of Utah at the time of the publication.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Walter Rudolph; August 2011.


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

Processing Information

Processed; Elizabeth West; August 2011.

Register of Grant Norman Johannesen autobiography
Elizabeth West
2011 August 26
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