In the Loop
Guest Recital

Guest Piano Recital: Willis Delony “Mixed Company: Classical and Jazz Connections”

  • Date & Time
    • Thursday, March 15, 2018 7:30pm 2018-03-15 07:30:00 pm1969-12-31 07:00:00 pmAmerica/New_YorkGuest Piano Recital: Willis Delony “Mixed Company: Classical and Jazz Connections”Music Building Room 101 (MUB 101)
  • Description

    Pianist Willis Delony will present a recital with classical/jazz piano music. 

    From the artist about the evening’s program:
    My performing career has often focused on the exploration of what some perceive as two distantly related genres: the “classical” art music tradition with its European roots, and American jazz. But I’ve always been fascinated with how they often demonstrate very strong connections, and have planned tonight’s concert, this collection of “mixed company,” in that spirit. From the classical pianist’s solo repertory, I’ve chosen two familiar French classics by Ravel and Debussy, a cameo appearance by Brahms, along with a little-known, jazz-tinged sonata by twentieth-century American composer Norman Dello Joio. The centerpiece of the program is a new piece by Paris-based American composer Joseph Makholm (see his commentary below) whose music marries, in masterful fashion, classical and jazz elements. Along the way is an original jazz composition based on a theme by Bach, as well as selections by three giants of jazz piano: Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson.


    In a performing career spanning almost four decades, pianist Willis Delony has won acclaim as a leading classical/jazz crossover artist. His innovative concert explorations of the two musical worlds are showcased in a series of solo piano recordings on the Centaur label.  A New World A' Comin' – Classical and Jazz Connections was released in 2001. Double Dance – Classical and Jazz Connections II was released in 2008, while the most recent installment of the series, Out of Character – Classical and Jazz Connections III, was released in October 2014. Previous album credits include a recording of sonatas by Samuel Barber and Sergei Prokofiev, also on the Centaur label, and a jazz album entitled Civilized Conversations, featuring Delony and bassist Bill Grimes. He collaborated with bassoonist William Ludwig on the Mark Records release, Rhapsody in Bassoon, which features the world premiere recording of André Previn’s Sonata for Bassoon and Piano. 

    Delony has appeared as piano soloist, guest pianist/arranger or conductor with orchestras throughout the United States as well as orchestras in Canada, the former Soviet Union and China. As a solo and collaborative recitalist, he has performed classical and jazz concerts throughout the U.S. – including a solo recital at Carnegie Hall (October, 2014) – as well as France, Germany, the former Soviet Union, Mexico and Brazil. He has performed with many of the nation’s leading jazz artists and is co-host/pianist for Louisiana State University’s popular concert series Hot Summer Nights – Cool Jazz. His pops orchestra arrangements have been performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, including over 50 scores written for the Minneapolis-based jazz vocal quintet Five By Design, with whom he has recorded two albums. He has worked for many years with Baton Rouge producer/sound engineer Joey Decker of Disk Productions, co-creating dozens of award-winning commercial soundtracks for clients nationwide. He collaborates regularly with leading contemporary composers, having recently premiered the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Stephen Dankner with the LSU Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded and performed solo works by Paris-based American composer Joseph Makholm, as well as solo piano works by jazz composer Les Hooper. In January 2017, he premiered Greg Yasinitsky’s Jazz Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. During the 2017-18 concert season, his performance schedule has taken him to Costa Rica where in August he presented a masterclass and solo recital at the Escuela de Arts Musicales at the University of Costa Rica. In October, he was the featured performer and clinician for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association annual convention. He recently returned from Paris where he presented a lecture/recital on the music of Bill Evans at the IMEP Paris College of Music, a solo recital at the Bill Evans Piano Academy and a jazz trio performance at the Sunside, one of the French city’s leading jazz clubs.

    Delony is the Virginia Martin Howard Professor of Piano and Professor of Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he has been a member of the School of Music faculty since 2000. From 1986-2000 he served on the music faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University and is a former member of the music faculty at Delta State University. He is a past recipient of an Artist Fellowship awarded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and in May of 2012 received the Edith Kirkpatrick Arts Leadership Award given by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. He was a longtime student of renowned pianist and teacher Jack Guerry at Louisiana State University, and also studied with pianist Ann Schein at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.

  • Venue
    Music Building Room 101 (MUB 101)
    435 Newell Dr.
    Music Building Room 101 (MUB 101) Website