Carol Noona's career has been centered around her three favorite things: words, music, and children. She was born Carol Ann Menke and raised in the suburbs of Chicago. Her earliest piano training was with Ethel Davis Marley. At fourteen she began studying at the American Conservatory of Music under Howard Hanks. She feels fortunate to have received theory under Leo Sowerby and Edwin Fissinger during this time.
Along with the art of performing, Hands, a disciple/collaborator of Louise Robyn, stressed teaching his students how to teach. So it was at the age of fourteen that Carol Noona began accepting piano students of her own. After six years at the Conservatory she transferred to the University of Illinois where she studied under Joseph Battista, an Olga Samoroff protege. It was here that Walter and Carol met in an ensemble class where they were coupled as a duo piano team.
The Noona's home is Virginia Beach, VA, where Carol maintains her studio. Besides writing, testing pedagogical materials and working with her piano students, she is active as a music editor, reviewer, lecturer, and performer. Carol is also the Managing Director of the Virginia Beach Pops Orchestra, a challenging area of musical interest which utilizes her organizational expertise and people skills.
Walter Noona's musical interests are myriad. A native Virginian, he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education, with a Major in Piano from East Carolina University where he studied with Dr. Robert Carter. His Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees were earned at the University of Illinois where he studied with Soulima Stravinsky.
Walter Noona was a winner in the district and state competitions of the Steinway Centennial Contest, which let to participation in the semi‑finals. He was awarded the Woolley Foundation Scholarship which entitled him to a year of study at the University of Paris, France. He has appeared in solo recitals in cities throughout the county and has appeared as guest soloist with orchestras in New Orleans, Chicago, North Carolina and Virginia.
For a number of years, prior to establishing his own studio and becoming deeply involved in writing for children, Mr. Noona was on the staff of several schools, including the University of Illinois, Xavier University in New Orleans, LA, and Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. For the last several years his private piano studio has been located at eth Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, VA.
Along with a vital interest in piano performance and pedagogy, he is also deeply involved in orchestral music. He is presently the musical director and conductor of the Virginia Beach Pops Orchestra. This organization maintains an active subscription schedule and contributes greatly to the cultural life of southeastern Virginia. Mr. Noona is also a guest conductor across the nation. Most recently he has conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Hartford Symphony, Nashville Symphony, San Jose Symphony, Fort Lauderdale Symphony Orchestra, Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and the Hamilton Symphony Orchestra. Walter Noona was selected by the late Ethel Merman to be her personal conductor for the last two years of her performing career. In this capacity he conducted orchestras across the country for her appearances.
He is the leader and founder of the Walter Noona Trio, a leading sophisticated group, in step with the music of contemporary America. Besides playing commercially, they have given numerous solo concert performances throughout the states and often appear as guests with the Virginia Pops Symphony. Walter Noona has built an outstanding reputation as a lecturer on various aspects of music, including pedagogy and improvisation.
There are well over 150 publications on the international market written by the Noonas. They have lectured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan since the early 1970s. Their contributions to the teaching market include Mainstreams in Music, Young Pianist, Gifted Pianist, Noona Clavier, and The Basic Pianist, along with many supplementary pieces and collections. All the Noona's material is published by Heritage Music Press and Roger Dean Publishing Company, divisions of The Lorenz Corporation. These publications are distributed in Great Britain, Germany and Japan, as well as the United States and Canada.
In addition to the above accomplishments, Walter and Carol Noona are the proud parents of five children.