Composer Dan Willenberg, Michigan (USA)

Dan Willenberg

Dan Willenberg is a pianist and composer who has become in-demand as both a bandleader and sideman in the Southwest Michigan area. His wide range of experience with jazz, classical, and musical theater performance has earned him notoriety as a versatile musician capable of fitting into any performance or educational setting.

A 3-time Open Division Winner in the Michigan Music Association’s Annual competition (2005-2007), Dan went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Albion College in K-12 Instrumental Music Education, studying classical piano with Dr. David Abbott. Dan began studying jazz on his own during his time at Albion, and immediately after graduation was offered an assistantship from Western Michigan University to pursue a master’s degree in Jazz Piano Performance under the tutelage of the world-renowned jazz educator Dr. Steve Zegree and Grammy-nominated pianist Fred Hersch and eventually with rising-star pianist Jeremy Siskind and Grammy-nominated and 2010 Guggenheim Fellow recipient Edward Simon of the SFJazz Collective.

One of the greatest luxuries I’ve ever had as a composer is being able to write music for someone who will thoughtfully interpret and brilliantly execute no matter what is on the page in front of them. Writing this variation for Lia was exactly that — an artistic luxury. When Lia asked me to contribute to the project, I was both honored and humbled.

Dan Willenberg

Mr Willenberg indicated with his Diabelli Squared composition that he “wanted to capture some of the more obvious motifs from Beethoven’s variations and exploit them in several ways within a different harmonic progression and key center.” He added that he “just wanted to write something that Lia could have fun with and interpret with her own rhythmic feel and musical voice.”

Dan currently works as a freelance accompanist for jazz, classical, and musical theater vocalists and instrumentalists at Western Michigan University where he is also pursuing an Artist’s Diploma in Jazz Piano Performance and maintaining his own private classical and jazz teaching studios. Dan can be heard regularly performing throughout the southwest Michigan area with his trio, the Dan Willenberg Trio.