Daniel Willenberg

  • Artist Diploma, Jazz Studies, Western Michigan University
  • Master of Music Performance, Jazz Studies, Western Michigan University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Music Education, Albion College

Dan Willenberg is currently pursuing a Performer’s Diploma in Jazz Piano Performance from Western Michigan University and working as a freelance jazz pianist, accompanist, producer, composer, and educator. A 3-time Open Division winner of the Michigan Music Association’s statewide competition, Dan studied piano with Pattie Nelson-Raica of Marine City before attending Albion College, where he studied classical music with Dr. David Abbott and completed a K-12 Instrumental Music Education degree. During his time at Albion, Dan began teaching himself jazz and began to play several weekly gigs throughout Albion and surrounding areas. He was then accepted to the prestigious jazz program at Western Michigan University to pursue a Master’s degree in jazz piano performance under the tutelage of Grammy-nominated pianist Fred Hersch; internationally-renowned jazz educator, pianist, and composer Steve Zegree; 2010 Guggenheim Fellow and Grammy-nominated pianist Edward Simon; and young powerhouse Jeremy Siskind, winner of the 2013 Nottingham Jazz Piano Competition.

Dan finished his master’s degree in Spring of 2014 and became the host of the weekly jazz jam session at The Union Cabaret & Grille in downtown Kalamazoo. He has performed with/for some of the leading names in jazz music including Joe Lovano, Billy Hart, Randy Brecker, Robert Glasper, Miguel Zenon, Steve Wilson, Victor Goines, Xavier Davis, John Clayton, Bill Stewart, Andrew Rathbun, Sara Gazarek, and Billy Drewes, As an accompanist, Dan is known for being an extremely versatile sideman; working with vocalists and instrumentalists alike in classical, jazz, musical theater, funk, and pop realms.

As a pedagogue, Dan is currently an adjunct jazz piano instructor at Albion College; was the Jazz Piano Faculty instructor at the 2015 Gilmore Piano Camp; taught class piano for both music and non-music majors at WMU as a graduate assistant; was the resident jazz pianist of the Keith Hall Summer Drum Intensive in 2013-14; and maintains a private studio with classical and jazz piano students.
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