About William Kinderman

William Kinderman was born in 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From youth, he combined brilliance, energy, and a bit of mischief, and in maturity he has become a cherished teacher, lauded performer, and model scholar.

Kinderman enrolled as a chemistry major at Dickinson College, then defied his father and switched to musicology. His father’s displeasure disappeared when he heard Kinderman play Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with the college orchestra. Even so, Kinderman’s background in chemistry and mathematics proved to be ideal training for musical analysis, and demonstrated his lifelong interest in connecting music to all kinds of creativity.

After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, Kinderman pursued ever broader interests, studying philosophy at the University of Vienna and music at Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Ph.D. in 1980. He deepened his love affair with the piano, applying himself to the masterpieces of the late Classical period. The most notable of his piano teachers was Dieter Weber at the Hochschule für Musik, Vienna.

During 1986/87 he was in residence at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. He taught at the University of Victoria from 1980 to 2001, further developing each of his three approaches to music—as teacher, as scholar, and as concert performer—and received awards from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, The Killam Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Because of the demands of teaching and research, he concentrated his performance repertoire on Beethoven’s most challenging solo works—the last three sonatas and notoriously difficult Diabelli Variations. He is currently Professor of Music, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Kinderman enjoys an international reputation as a teacher, able to explain the intricacies of music by playing them, and able to expand the joys of music by bringing out the delights and subtle humor within the most revered works. He has taught seminars throughout Europe and North America. He has been a guest professor during 1993/94 at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, and at the University of Chicago in 2007. In 1993 he joined Alfred Brendel to give a Beethoven Workshop for piano teachers at Carnegie Hall. Edward Rothstein, commenting on the Carnegie Hall lectures in The New York Times, praised Kinderman’s “impressive bursts of intellectual energy and distinctive insight.”

Brendel himself described Kinderman as “a very rare bird” on account of his ability to combine performance and scholarship. Kinderman’s books include Mozart’s Piano Music (Oxford, 2006), A Companion to Wagner’s Parsifal (with Katherine Syer, Camden House, 2003), the monumental three-volume edition of Artaria 195: Beethoven’s Sketchbook for the Missa solemnis and the Piano Sonata in E Major, Opus 109 (Illinois, 2003), and four other books on Beethoven: Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations (Oxford, 1987), Beethoven’s Compositional Process (Nebraska, 1991), The String Quartets of Beethoven (Illinois, 2006), and the comprehensive overview Beethoven (Oxford, 1995).

German critic Gerd Kowa describes Kinderman as “a herald of Beethoven research and interpretation . . . a sovereign artist.” On these discs listeners can hear for themselves how dedicated thought, depth of feeling, and years of practice combine to enhance some of the greatest piano music ever composed.



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