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(PC: Titilayo Ayangade)

American Pianists Association Announces New President and CEO

Chris Williams joins the organization after serving as executive vice president of the Concert Artists Guild (CAG)

Chris Williams will join the American Pianists Association as its new President and CEO on July 10 — succeeding interim CEO Joanne Bennett, who has led the organization since July 2022.

Williams has previously served as executive vice president of the Concert Artists Guild (CAG) in New York City for five years — where he mentored young artists and connected them with top industry presenters, managers, and tastemakers. In addition, Williams developed multiple partnerships with the likes of Kaufman Music Center, Death of Classical, and Young Classical Artists Trust in London.

Before CAG, Williams served as an arts consultant at Williams Arts Consulting, the vice president at Judson Management Group, and an artist manager at Frank Salomon Associates. At the latter, Williams represented artists such as Richard Goode, Sir Simon Rattle, Jaime Laredo, and Leon Fleisher.

A graduate of Yale University, he has been a guest speaker on professional development at his alma mater, the University of Illinois, the University of North Texas, the Cliburn Junior Piano Competition, among others.

"The American Pianists Association’s dedication to advancing the careers of solo pianists is an endeavor I’m extremely passionate about,” Williams said. “These musicians consistently exhibit a sensational level of artistry and deserve more support in the classical and jazz genres. I am excited to use the relationships I’ve built over the course of my career to contribute to the success of our future Awards finalists. The American Pianists Association has deep roots in the communities they serve, and I look forward to finding new ways to connect with our audiences in Indianapolis and beyond.”

“The American Pianists Association has searched for a person with creativity, vision, passion for serving young piano artists and our diverse community, extensive musical leadership experience, and a presence that inspires,” Board Chair William C. Sando, M.D., said. “We are excited to report that we found all of these traits in Chris Williams.”

The American Pianists Association has supported developing young American pianists for over 44 years. Founded in New York City as the Beethoven Foundation in 1979 by Victor Borge, Tony Habig, and Julius Bloom, the organization moved to Indianapolis in 1982 and changed its name to the American Pianists Association seven years later.

The organization's American Pianists Awards alternate between classical and jazz piano every two years and offers career development opportunities for American pianists ages 18–30. Each winner receives career support valued at over $200,000.

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