Background & Experience
Bill has worked since 1978 as a professional pianist in the Chicago area--as a leader of combos, as a free lance member of a variety of groups, as a solo jazz pianist, and as a pit band director. He teaches jazz piano and improvisation, coaches all instrumentalists on improvisation, directs the Grayslake Jazz Combo Workshop, and enjoys playing piano with the College of Lake County Monday Night Jazz Ensemble.
He also composes jazz and other music, including an album of music inspired by birds, Jazz on the Wing.
His early training consisted of 13 years of private, classical study with Earl Ricker of Sterling, IL. Ricker was one of the first to offer group piano instruction, and Bill benefited greatly from playing with four other young piano students. After college, Bill decided that he wanted to continue playing the piano, and this decision led him to undertake a journey into playing jazz. Below you'll see the stops on this journey:
Studied most recently with Jim Trompeter
Directed Warren Twp High School pit bands--2012 & 2013--for Annie and Hairspray
Played in the College of Lake County Monday Night Jazz Band, 82-84, 95-96, and 2006 to the present. While there, he has played with a host of guest artists, including Bobby Shew, Ashley Alexander, and Rich Matteson.
Has taught jazz piano and improvisation privately 1996 to present
Taught jazz piano at the College of Lake County 1988 to 1996
Provided solo jazz piano entertainment for hotels, private parties, and private homes 1980 to present
Led his own jazz combo/wedding band 1981 to 1996
Attended Jamey Aebersold Jazz Combo Clinic in 1979 and 1982
Studied jazz piano and improvisation with Alan Swain, from 1981-1982
Bill also provides technical consulting for area schools. He retired from Warren Twp High School, where he served as Director of Educational Technology from 1995-2011. Before that, he taught English at Warren from 1978 to 1995, advised several student groups, and served as public relations liaison for the district.
He has also taught undergraduate classes in English at the College of Lake County and graduate classes in technology at National-Louis University.
In 1993 Bill was a finalist for the Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel, Teacher of the Year award, and in 1994 he was named a Milken National Educator.
He received his Certificate of Advanced Studies in Technology in Education in 1995 from National Louis University, his Masters in Education in 1986 from National Louis University, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Carthage College in 1975.
When not assisting area schools, teaching area jazz musicians, behind a piano playing or practicing, he enjoys watching birds and his greatest passion, being a husband and a father.