Ernst Schneider (b.1939) received his early music training in Germany. In 1958 he immigrated to Canada, where he continued his music education. Among his teachers were Lloyd Powell, Helen Silvester, and Dr. Jean Coulthard. Ernst Schneider's compositions include works for piano, voice, chamber groups, and orchestra. His music has been performed in festivals and concerts in Canada, USA, and Europe. He taught piano and adjudicated for many years and hosted a weekly two-hour music program on station CIGV for 12 years, featuring many Canadian compositions.
In 2009 Ernst Schneider received an Honorary Licentiate Diploma from the Canadian National Conservatory of Music for his contributions to and promotion of Canadian music. The same year he was also commissioned to write an orchestral work for the Centennial of his home town, the City of Penticton, British Columbia. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elisabeth Medal for his contribution to, and promotion of Canadian music and community support. Ernst Schneider’s first Piano Concerto received a second performance with the very talented pianist Jaeden Izik-Dzurko in February 2018 and his second Piano Concerto is scheduled to be performed in the 2019/20 season.
Willard has enjoyed a career of teaching, performing, accompanying, lecturing and master classes in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. During his tenure in the U. of Calgary, he was responsible for developing the Masters Degree program in Piano Performance and the parallel program in Performance/Pedagogy for piano. He was for one academic year Visiting Professor and Artist Teacher in WSU; Head of Piano in Wuhan Conservatory of Music, PR of China, for three semesters; 2 summers in South Bohemia Festivals Czech Republic; presenter in conventions in U.S., Canada, London UK, Canberra, Australia. Since 1994 he has been a regular faculty member and performer in Adamant Summer School for Pianists,VT, and is currently Chair of Piano AMNW. Many of his former students are successfully involved in the music profession in universities, music schools in U.S., Canada, and PR of China. He maintains a studio in North Seattle, serves on the Music Advisory Panel of SYAMF.
Marek Jablonski (1939-1999) was a pianist of international stature. Born in Poland, he grew up in Edmonton. He eventually travelled to The Juilliard School in New York to further his musical training with the famed Rosina Lhevinne. His career took him to the great concert halls of the world where he won over his audiences with performances that displayed his unique and insightful interpretations of the piano repertoire, most notably the music of Frederic Chopin. Held in high and affectionate esteem, Marek was a uniquely gifted and inspiring teacher. He was incredibly generous in sharing his time, expertise and friendship with teachers and students in Edmonton, throughout the country, and internationally. He was a member of the piano faculty at the University of Alberta and every summer taught an international piano masterclass at The Banff Centre. Pianists such as Jon Kimura Parker, Jamie Parker, Naida Cole, Bernadene Blaha, Kevin Fitz Gerald and David Moroz are only a few of the wonderful pianists who were taught and mentored by him.