Andover Musicians and Musical Groups - Bill Cunliffe

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  • Bill Cunliffe is a jazz pianist and composer who grew up on Poor Street and on South Main Street in Andover.
  • His mother played the piano and his father was a fanatical collector of records.
  • He studied piano with Albion Metcalf at Phillips Academy where he graduated in 1974.
  • While in college, he considered a career in medicine or psychology, but finally decided on music. He graduated from Duke University, and got a masters degree from Eastman School of Music.
  • He has won a number of awards: 1981 Downbeat Awards for big band orchestral pieces, a Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Award in 1989, a 2003 Kimmel Jazz Center Award for his composition El Optimista. and a 2010 Grammy Award for an arrangement of a West Side Story medley, among others.
  • He toured with Frank Sinatra.
  • He has written music for the TV shows Another World and Passions and for the feature film The Banger Sisters.
  • He wrote the book Jazz Keyboard Toolbox which became a standard reference in jazz.
  • He is a professor of Music at California State University, Fullerton, and was named a "distinguished faculty member" there in 2010. He has also taught at Central State University, Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California State University, Northridge, the University of Southern California, and Temple University.
  • His music has been played by many orchestras: the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Illinois Philharmonic, and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, among others.
  • Among his many CDS are three which achieved recognition in nationwide jazz polls: Bill in Brazil, Imaginacion, and How My Heart Sings.


  • [1]Bill Cunliffe, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 5 March 2012
  • Jazz Musician Urges Students to Follow Their Dreams. Andover Townsman 2/26/2004, p.9

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