Iowa Composers Forum

Featured Composer: Bonnie Johansen-Werner


Bonnie Johansen-Werner is a freelance musician in Joliet, Illinois where she teaches piano, voice, and composition in her private studio. She teaches music theory, sight-singing, and ear training at the University of St. Francis where she also serves as one of the staff accompanists. Bonnie publishes with The United Methodist Publishing House, Alliance Publications, Augsburg-Fortress Press, Darcey Press, and Waterton Brass. She is a member of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers), the American Composers Forum, the Iowa Composers Federation, the Illinois Association of Teachers of Music, the National Guild of Piano Teachers (American College of Musicians), and Music Teachers National Association (MTNA). She is active in the Joliet Area Music Teachers Association and is a Colleague in the American Guild of Organists (CAGO), affiliated with both the Fox Valley and southwest Suburban AGO chapters. Bonnie is a Diaconal Minister in The United Methodist Church, affiliated with Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville. In addition she is the organist at First United Methodist Church in Lockport. Bonnie’s compositions are for choir, vocal solo, keyboard (mostly organ), and chamber ensembles. Recent premieres include “I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad” for piano eight hands with percussion quartet at the Kankakee Valley Piano Camp in July 2014 and “Variations on ‘Freedom is Coming’” for organ and African percussion at First UMC in Lockport, IL in August 2014.  Other significant premieres include “Variations on’Nun Danket’” in Majerka, Slovakia in September of 2011; “In a French Village: Ancient Spirits” at Joliet Junior College on September 9, 2012; and “Hodie Christus Natus Est” for SATB choir which premiered December, 2011 a the University of St. Francis in Joliet. Current projects include a set of eight works for organ and African percussion, plus a collection of songs written on poems by African AIDS orphans. Her composition teachers include Alice Parker, Richard Hillert, and Carl Schalk. She has graduate training in voice and vocal pedagogy, studying with Karen Brunssen. She also trained as an observer and accompanist in lessons with the late Bernard Taylor of New York City. Bonnie is currently training in the Taubman technique of piano performance with Teresa Dybvig of New York. Bonnie has a B.M.U. in Music from Augustana College, magna cum laude, where she majored in piano performance, an M.C.M. from Concordia University (River Forest) where she completed an emphasis in liturgical composition, has served as a full-time organist/choral director at First United Methodist Church in Moline, Illinois, and served as the McCosh Assistant Professor of Music at Upper Iowa University for 13 years. She has completed graduate theological studies at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, Methesco, and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Bonnie is married to Duane Werner and together they have five children and eight grandchildren.

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This article was written on 19 Feb 2016, and is filled under Featured Composers.