Renowned Pianist Willis Delony To Perform Oct. 26

Man sitting at a grand piano.

The Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) Music Program in the Paul V. Hamilton School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will host classical and jazz pianist Willis Delony in a guest artist recital on Thursday, October 26, 2023, at 7 p.m. in the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center at Duke Hall of Citizenship. The performance is free to anyone who wishes to attend and continues the lineup of arts events available to the public.

In a performing career spanning over four decades, 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. “Out of Character – Classical and Jazz Connections III,” was released in October 2014. Also part of the series is an independent release from 2018 entitled “Butterfly Room – Connections for Solo Piano.” The project continued with “Between the Notes,” which was released by Centaur on November 5, 2021.  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.” He also appears with oboist Johanna Cox Pennington on her album “Orion Nocturne” on the Albany label.

Delony has appeared as piano soloist, chamber musician, jazz performer, and 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. as well as France, Germany, the former Soviet Union, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and Argentina. He has performed with many of the nation’s leading jazz artists and is co-host/pianist for Louisiana State University’s (LSU) 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, as well as arrangements for his newly created ensemble, Connections Repertory Orchestra. He collaborates regularly with leading contemporary composers, having premiered the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Stephen Dankner with the LSU Symphony Orchestra in 2015. He has recorded and performed solo piano 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. Due in part to the strength of this performance, the work was awarded The American Prize in composition. A series of 2018 performances in Paris featured his lecture and recital on the music of Bill Evans at the IMEP Paris College of Music as well as a solo recital at the Bill Evans Piano Academy. During the 2021-22 season he was the featured soloist in a performance of Florence Price’s Concerto for Piano with the LSU Symphony, and also in a performance of Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds with the LSU Wind Ensemble as part of LSU’s international festival, Stravinsky In America. One of his most recent projects is the performance and recording with violinist Joana Genova of the complete violin/piano sonatas by Stephen Dankner. The recording is scheduled for release on the Centaur label in 2024.

Delony is the Boyd Professor of Piano and Jazz Studies in the School of Music at LSU, where he has been a member of the 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, as well as the Edith Kirkpatrick Arts Leadership Award given by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. He received the LSU Distinguished Faculty Award in 2019 and was named the SEC Professor of the Year for LSU in 2020.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423.869.6280 or email at [email protected].

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