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William Westney

Pianist WILLIAM WESTNEY was the top piano prizewinner of the Geneva International Competition, and he appeared thereafter as soloist with such major orchestras as l'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and the Houston, San Antonio and New Haven Symphonies. Westney holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Queens College in New York and a Masters and Doctorate in performance from Yale University, all with highest honors. During Fulbright study in Italy he was the only American winner in auditions held by Radiotelevisione Italiana. He has given solo recitals on four continents, including appearances at New York's Lincoln Center, the National Gallery and Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., St. John's Smith Square in London, University of Chile (Santiago), and a U.S. State Department tour of Italy. His playing has been described by reviewers as “riveting” (N.Y. Post) and “refreshing” (Straits Times, Singapore). Critics have praised his recordings for CRI and Musical Heritage Society, and Newsweek magazine selected his CRI album of Leo Ornstein's works as one of its "Ten Best American Music Recordings" of the year.
An internationally noted educator, William Westney holds two endowed positions at Texas Tech University – Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Piano and Eva Browning Artist-in-Residence – and has received the university’s highest honor for education, the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Teaching Award. He won a grant from the U.S. State Department's Fulbright "Senior Specialist" program (Council for International Exchange of Scholars), to teach throughout Korea and China in 2006. As an interdisciplinary scholar, he was appointed the Hans Christian Andersen Guest Professorship at the University of Southern Denmark (Odense) and appeared throughout the Nordic area during the 2009-10 academic year, giving recitals in the U.K., Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Norway. He teaches in the summer at the InterHarmony Festival in Arcidosso, Italy.
Dr. Westney's unique “Un-Master Class” performance workshops were described as "fascinating" in a featured New York Times article. They are increasingly in demand in the U.S. and abroad, having been held at such prominent centers as the Aspen School, Peabody Conservatory, Kennedy Center, Royal Conservatory (Toronto), Cleveland Institute, Tanglewood Institute, Royal College of Music (London), Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst (Vienna), Central Conservatory (Beijing), Sibelius Academy (Helsinki), Royal Danish Academy (Copenhagen) and the Juilliard School.
Schirmer Performance Editions released Dr. Westney's edition, and CD recording, of piano etudes by Stephen Heller in 2005, by Burgmüller in 2009, and a volume of Lyric Pieces by Edvard Grieg in 2013. His first book, The Perfect Wrong Note, was published by Amadeus Press in 2003 to critical acclaim. An international bestseller (over 25,000 copies), and recently released in a Japanese-language edition, it is a “well-thought-out approach to music instruction to which many aspire, but which few attain” according to the Library Journal, and American Record Guide described it as “refreshing and rewarding.” In recognition of the book’s unique contribution to the field of music teaching, Music Teachers National Association chose William Westney to receive the Frances Clark Keyboard Pedagogy Award in 2012.