For several decades Andrew Willis has explored the historical development of keyboard instruments and their performance practice while maintaining a commitment to the study, performance, and teaching of the widest possible range of repertoire. Keenly interested in the history of the piano, he participates frequently in conferences, concert series, and festivals. A past president of the Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society and a Trustee of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, he served a finals juror of the Westfield International Fortepiano Competition in 2011.
As Professor of Music in the UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts, he teaches performance on instruments ranging from harpsichord to modern piano and since 2003 has directed the biennial Focus on Piano Literature symposium, for which he commissioned, premiered, and recorded Martin Amlin’s Sonata No. 7 (2000). He has recorded solo and ensemble music on historically contemporaneous pianos of three centuries for the Albany, Bridge, Claves, Centaur, and CRI labels, with collaborators including Julianne Baird, soprano, Brent Wissick, cello, and Sue Ann Kahn, flute. His recording of Op. 106 for the first complete Beethoven sonata cycle on period instruments was hailed by The New York Times as “a ‘Hammerklavier’ of rare stature.”
Willis received the D.M.A. in Historical Performance from Cornell University, where he studied fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson, the M.M. in Accompanying from Temple University under George Sementovsky and Lambert Orkis, and the B.M. in Piano from The Curtis Institute of Music, where his mentor was Mieczyslaw Horszowski.