About FSI

Fairbanks Suzuki Institute is a 5-day institute that centers around the inspiring Suzuki Method of teaching and learning.

FSI supports Dr. Suzuki’s belief that children can be nurtured and educated to a high level. Suzuki studies aim to educate the whole child through an environment rich in the language of music, supported by involved parents and excellent teachers. Students will develop sensitive and caring hearts that will improve everyone’s quality of life.

The whole child is nurtured by learning to play an instrument with excellent musical tone and expression while gaining skill and advancing to high technical levels.

  • Students of all ages and abilities meet in an immersive music program, taught by master level Suzuki instructors.
  • Parents attend classes with their children to support deep learning and build community with other Suzuki parents. Parent Talks are given free of charge.
  • Teachers, both new and experienced, are supported in life-long learning through Suzuki teacher development courses and observations of student classes.
  • Everyone is invited to daily student recitals, several evening recitals and the final Gala Concert.
  • Fun, social events build close community – an opening day Potluck Picnic, a midweek Graduation celebration, a Pizza Party, and a closing Gala reception

Fairbanks Suzuki Institute 2024 Registration is now open!

We are offering in-person institute programs for students of all ages and violin teacher development.
Teacher Development Program
Tuesday, May 28 – June 2, 2024
Student Institute Program

Opening Day: Tuesday, May 28 for Chamber Music, Graduation rehearsals, Orientation, and a Play-In.
Bring your instruments and meet your teachers!

Regular Class Schedule: Wednesday, May 29 – Sunday, June 2 attend daily classes and recitals.
Everyone performs at the final Gala Concert on Sunday.

Meet The FSI Staff

Dr. Gail Johnson

Dr. Gail Johnson

Artistic Director

Gail Johansen is associate concertmaster of the Fairbanks Symphony and performs both violin and viola with the Alaska Chamber Players. She teaches violin, viola and chamber music in her private studio. As a registered Teacher Trainer with the Suzuki Association of the Americas, Dr. Johansen is on the faculties of summer music institutes across North America. She is a founder of the Fairbanks School of Talent Education and the Artistic Director of the Fairbanks Suzuki Institute, for which she received the SAA 2008 “Creating Learning Community” award. In 2009 Dr. Johansen was honored with the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music Alumni Achievement award.

Dr. Johansen holds a MMus degree in violin performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stanford University and is a past-president of the Alaska Chapter of the American String Teachers Association. Her distinguished students are alumni of the Juilliard School, Cleveland Institute of Music, Royal College of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, Shepherd School of Music, The Meadowmount School, Aspen Music Festival, Encore School for Strings, Interlochen, National Repertory Orchestra and Kneisel Hall.

Audra Carlson

Audra Carlson

Director of Operations and Graduation

Audra Carlson was raised in South Dakota and started playing violin at the age of four with a Suzuki trained teacher. She continued to play through high school, winning many competitions and awards, and went on to graduate college with a violin performance degree. Shortly after, in 1994, she found herself moving to Fairbanks after a life changing adventure on the Yukon River. She has played in many music ensembles in the community throughout the years and currently teaches violin privately in her home and is married with three children who all play instruments and have participated in FSI for many years.

Katie Straub

Katie Straub

Registrar and Finances Director
Katie Straub moved to Alaska from South Dakota in 2001 to pursue graduate studies in Marine Science at UAF. She works in the UAF Alumni Relations office and joined the Fairbanks Suzuki Institute staff in the spring of 2021. Katie and her husband, Tyler, have three kids who are learning to play violin through the Suzuki method and who have enjoyed many summers of FSI.