Talented! Charming! Affable! Impeccable Showman!
If this sounds like the latest matinee idol, well, in a way it is,
but of a different persona. These are some of the comments overheard at
every Roger Williams concert, be it at a symphony, on a ‘Vegas stage, or
Carnegie Hall, to name just a few venues.
The first pianist to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Roger has 21 Gold and Platinum
albums to his credit. He is a Steinway Artist, he is the
first and (so far) only artist to receive the Steinway Lifetime Achievement
Award, and he was featured at Carnegie Hall for Steinway’s 150th
Anniversary. Roger Williams is also the first to ever have a series of
pianos named after him by Steinway. Reader’s Digest puts it this way,
“Roger Williams is undeniably one of the greatest pianists of the 20th
Century. His illustrious career in music is unparalleled.”
Roger’s music has served as the soundtrack to the lives of three
generations, and he burst upon the music scene when he recordedAutumn Leavesin
1955. His version became an American classic and still stands as the
greatest selling piano recording of all time. Williams followed with more
million-selling records, including Born Free, Impossible Dream, Till, Near You, Almost
Paradise, Two Different Worlds, Lara’s Themefrom Dr.
Zhivago, and the theme fromSomewhere in Timecharting
Billboard hits in four different decades.
A graduate of DrakeUniversity, ISU, and the
Julliard School of Music, Williams began playing the piano when he was three
years of age. He has performed at every major venue, with nearly every major
symphony orchestra, including the afore-mentioned Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood
Bowl, and the White House. The latter has earned him the title of
“Pianists to the Presidents,” having played for nine chief executives.
In Las Vegas, Roger headlined for years at the MGM-Grand and The Tropicana,
and the facets from Roger’s starring performances shine over a broad spectrum
from coast-to-coast, Featured, recently, among others have been three days at
Point Hotel &Casino in Las Vegas, the Lindenwood Center for the Performing Arts in
St. Charles, Missouri, a special concert forLaura Bush and the wives of all the foreign
ambassadors in the White House, 30 years as a guest performer on the Crystal
Cathedral television show, “The Hour of Power”,and theMcCallum
Theater in Palm Desert, Califormia, backed by the full Desert Symphony
Orchestra. Included in his recent successes is the issue
Williams Plays Your All-Time Favorites, as well asTHE ROGER WILLIAMS
COLLECTION, a two-part CD album, one of which has become, by
far, the biggest selling item for Reader’s Digest.
Additionally, Roger also starred at concerts in Palm Beach; Boca Raton; Chandler, Arizona; Gulf Shores, Alabama;
ISU; Glendora, California,
and a return engagement at South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Having raised millions of dollars
Public Television Specials, another pending television special,
“Pianist to the Presidents” for KOCE-TV, is being developed from the performance of
the same name at the Nixon Library last year where Roger was the honored
performer, and officially re-named “Pianist to the Presidents.
Constantly sought-after as a performer for charitable
events, Roger’s doctorates and honors come in volumes, and his accomplishments
have been read into the Congressional Record,
and included in various Presidential Diaries. One of Roger’s greatest challenges
has been to bring music back into the schools again. He was honored with the
“Champion of Youth Award from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Roger
promotes music in the schools at a yearly Piano Marathon on his birthday at
stellar locations around the country, playing continually up to 14 hours of
requests from his audiences. The Reagan Library, the Palm Springs Desert
Museum, The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, the Nixon Library, and Steinway
Hall have been just a few of the Marathon’s venues.
Wherever he performs, Roger Williams has developed his marvelous blend of
classics with Gershwin, Duke Ellington, and contemporary composers woven into a
tapestry of rhythms – from pop music, to blues, to jazz, and year after year
the accolades mount and continue to rise. Roger’s genius of constant
improvisation has made his music irresistible and timeless, and this is what
makes Roger Williams America’s enduring musical legend, and truly Mr. Piano.
When first asked about all the fuss about his career, Roger replied, “I’ve
never aspired to become the greatest classical pianist or the greatest jazz
pianist. How I admire them both. But it made me very proud that one
critic wrote: ‘Roger Williams has raised the so-called “elevator music”
to astounding new heights, and as a result, it has certainly established him as
the greatest popular pianist in history.’”
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