The solo pianist will perform jazz and classical pieces and explore the similarities between the two genres.
The Texas Tech University School of Music will host Louisiana State University pianist and professor Willis Delony Thursday (Jan. 26) and Friday (Jan 27) in Hemmle Recital Hall. Delony will lead a master class, Classical and Jazz Connections, at 5 p.m. Thursday, followed by a guest recital at 8 p.m. Friday. The events are free and open to the public.
Delony's program will include short and recognizable works by classic composers Frédéric Chopin and Claude Debussy with a transition to the works of genre-crossing jazz composer Bill Dobbins. In his final set, Delony will perform his own composition, “Butterfly Room,” along with Debussys' “L'isle joyeuse,” Bill Evans' “Comrade Conrad” and Billy Strayhorn's “A Flower is a Lovesome Thing.”
In a career spanning more than three decades, Delony has earned acclaim as a leading classical and jazz crossover artist. His series of solo piano recordings include: “A New World A' Comin – Classical and Jazz Connections” (2001), “Double Dance – Classical and Jazz Conections II” (2008) and “Out of Character – Classical and Jazz Connections III” (2014).
Delony has appeared as a piano soloist, guest pianist, guest arranger and conductor with orchestras throughout the United States, Canada, the former Soviet Union and China. He has performed as a solo and collaborative recitalist in classical and jazz concerts throughout the U.S., France, Germany, Mexico and Brazil.
Delony has performed with the nation's leading jazz artists and is co-host and pianist for the Louisiana State University concert series Hot Summer Nights – Cool Jazz. His orchestra arrangements have been performed throughout the U.S. and Canada and he has written scores for and recorded two albums with the Minneapolis-based jazz vocal quintet Five by Design.
Delony is the Virginia Martin Howard professor of piano and professor of jazz studies and has been a member of the faculty at Louisiana State University since 2000. He is a recipient of an Artist Fellowship awarded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and in May 2012 received the Edith Kirkpatrick Arts Leadership Award given by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.