ASSI 2024 Faculty

Armour, Janet (Libby) – Violin

Libby Armour is a Suzuki violin and piano instructor with a private studio in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Memphis, teaching Suzuki Pedagogy, and at the University of Mississippi teaching violin.

As a child she studied by the Suzuki Method when it was in its infancy in the United States. She decided quite early that teaching this method was what she wanted to do with her life.

After graduating from St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, she went to Matsumoto, Japan to study at the Talent Education Conservatory. For two years she studied with Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, founder of the Suzuki Method, and Dr. Haruko Kataoka, piano Master Teacher. In 1980 she performed a double graduation recital and received endorsement by Dr. Suzuki to teach his method on both instruments. She earned a degree at The University of Memphis, and has been teaching since her return.

She is a certified Teacher Trainer for the Suzuki Association of the Americas. She teaches regularly as a clinician or master teacher at institutes and workshops throughout the United States. She directs the Toscanini Chamber Ensemble, which performs widely. She was Concertmaster of the Corinth Symphony for 12 years, and plays free-lance in orchestras, chamber groups, and solo performances. She has taught and performed throughout the United States, in Japan, and in Europe.

You can view performances by Ms Armour’s students on youtube. Go to LibbyArmourStudio to watch.

Libby Armour is a registered Suzuki teacher member and certified Teacher Trainer of the Suzuki Association of the Americas. The Suzuki Method® is a registered trademark of the International Suzuki Association and its administrators. Suzuki Method® materials are published by Alfred Music, the sole distributor outside of Japan for the Suzuki® Method .


Gagnon, Susan – Cello

Susan Gagnon is a registered teacher trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, giving courses in Canada and the USA. She is also a core member of the Phil and Eli Taylor Academy for Young Artists at The Royal Conservatory of Music, teaching cellists and coaching string quartets. Ms. Gagnon holds a Bachelor of Music degree with Honours in Performance from the University of Western Ontario. She studied with Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi and attended master classes at the Banff School of Fine Arts with Janos Starker and Aldo Parisot. 

Susan teaches all levels and ages. She is in demand as a cello workshop and master class presenter. She is a member of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators Association and has adjudicated festivals across Canada. Susan played per service with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra from 1983-2023. She enjoys performing chamber music and has been a member of String Quartet Panache, the Toronto Arts Trio, and the Chrysalis Piano Quartet. Several of the quartets that Susan has coached have won Provincial Finals, CMC finals and been awarded the SOCMI scholarship to participate in events at the Banff String Quartet competition. Susan has been a regular faculty member at Music at Port Milford, an international summer music camp that teaches chamber music to teens, since 1995. 

Susan Gagnon has been an examiner for the RCM since 1995, compiled the 1995, 2007 and 2013 Cello Syllabi as well as the 2013 repertoire books for the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program. Ms. Gagnon is also a Certified Teacher with the RCM Teacher Certification program. Currently Susan is working on the support material for what will be the new Teaching Elementary Cello course being developed by the RCM. She has been on the faculty at Suzuki Institutes across Canada and throughout the US, teaching both teachers and students. She was formerly the Chair of the Suzuki Association of Ontario.

Vesely, Sam – Jazz & Rhythm Class

Sam Vesely is an accomplished Music Educator, Composer, Arranger, Performer, and Musician currently living in the Edmonton area. He demonstrates his musical versatility as a pianist, singer, guitar/bass player, and trumpet, he has shared his talents as a soloist and with several choirs and bands over the past thirteen years.  His musical interests and styles range from classical, country, pop, jazz, and contemporary. Sam brings together talent, passion, and technical knowledge to his work after completing his Bachelor of Music in Jazz and Contemporary Popular Music, majoring in Composition, and his Royal Conservatory of Canada piano and theory training (Grade 8).

With over seven years as a music educator and mentor for youth and adults, Sam’s success showcases his understanding of how to effectively engage others in their musical journey by sharing his passion for music and music creation. As a professional freelance composer, Sam has created works for large symphonic bands, choir ensembles, jazz trios, string quintets, and reimagined covers. Sam’s familiarity and passion for a diverse range of genres, combined with his fresh approach to music, is what makes his work stand out above the rest. 

Zalkovic, Julia – Violin

Julia Zalkovic was born in Edmonton Alberta, and began playing the violin when she was 7 years old. She began her studies at the Suzuki Charter School, learning the Suzuki Method. She later studied with Violaine Melançon at the Schulich School of Music (McGill University) in Montreal where she graduated with her Bachelor in Violin Performance degree in December of 2023. She has competed in numerous competitions, receiving scholarships as well as competing in Provincial competitions. Julia also began teaching both violin and piano (which she plays as a secondary instrument) when she was 14, and teaches both to this day. In 2016, she received the Iris Evans Scholarship ‘Most Likely To Become A Professional Artist Award’ from the Sherwood Park Music Festival. In 2017, she was a finalist in the ASA concerto competition, and won the Sherwood Park Music Festival’s Concerto competition in that same year. In 2018, she performed the complete Mozart Concerto No. 4 in D major alongside an orchestra, as a result of her winning the concerto competition the year prior. She has also performed in orchestras, being part of the EYO (Edmonton Youth Orchestra) at the age of 12, and later playing as part of the University of Alberta’s USO (University Symphony Orchestra) at the age of 18. While playing as a member of the USO, Julia majored in Psychology at the University of Alberta. Julia enjoys chamber work, as well as teaching one on one.