Dr. E. Gregory Butler - Pianist
Gregory Butler from Belleville, Ontario, began his piano studies at the age of five with Leona Riggs and at ten joined the studio of renowned Toronto pedagogue, Mona Bates. Following high school, Butler attended the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester from which he graduated with a Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance and Literature in 1974. While there, he studied with Jose Echaniz and Eugene List. His doctoral dissertation explores the Five Piano Sonatas of Canadian composer, Harry Somers.
Butler's playing, which has won him many Canada Council Grants and numerous Canadian and American competitions, has taken him to every major city in Canada and many in the United States, including an appearance at the White House. Of significance, were successful debut recitals in Carnegie Recital Hall, New York and Wigmore Hall, London, England. These concerts presented the American and British premiers of Harry Somers' Third Piano Sonata.
Throughout his performing career Gregory Butler has been dedicated to the performance of Canadian piano literature, always including representative works in his solo concerts. His 1988 recording of the Complete Solo Piano Music of Court Stone is but a small reflection of this commitment.
Dr. Butler's students continue this legacy in the study and performance of Canadian piano literature. Moreover, a number have distinguished themselves in local, provincial and national competitions and performances throughout the world. Many of his students have gone on to distinguished schools of music like Juilliard, Mannes, Manhattan, Eastman, Indiana, Illinois and Ann Arbor and a number of former students hold significant teaching positions at recognized institutions in Europe and across North America. In 1998, Butler's dedication to teaching, his students and their accomplishments were recognized in his being granted the Ontario Registered Music Teacher's Association Special Teachers' Award for Excellence in Musical Achievement. In 2003, Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario awarded Dr. Butler its highest academic tribute, an honorary diploma in Applied Arts and Technology, "in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the teaching profession and excellence of musical achievement."
Over the last twenty-five years, Gregory Butler has performed many duo-piano recitals with esteemed organist, friend and colleague, David Palmer. In their latest collaboration, the first to involve organ and piano, the critic declared them a "dynamic duo" and Butler a "master pianist." "Butler and Palmer Shine," continued the commentary with "…such incredible talent, such simple beauty." In June, 2008, David Palmer and Gregory Butler released their fist CD of organ and piano works, Double Exposure.
In a recent appearance with orchestra, the reviewer wrote, "Guest pianist Gregory Butler captured every ear and heart with his slow and seductive playing of the very familiar Warsaw Concerto. Beautifully presented, it was filled with opportunities for Butler to display his virtuosity. The audience was spellbound as his hands moved effortlessly up and down the keyboard. Butler returned later in the program to play Franz Liszt's Hungarian Fantasy with another spectacular display of his formidable talent."
His performances of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto in 2005 were hailed as a ‘triumph', marked by unhurried and solid technique...gorgeous subtlety in the middle adagio movement. "Wow" exclaimed another critic, "an incredible concert. I felt honoured to be in attendance." Still another wrote, "What a blast of Beethoven it was in keeping with Butler's own performance hallmarks of passion and perfection." Following a recent solo recital, the critic observed, "From our reverie, Butler awoke us with Rhapsody No. 10 by Liszt. Just when you thought more energy and passion couldn't pour forth from one man and one instrument, it did."
"Passion and Pianissimo" typify a Butler concert. Such is the consistent view of this pianist's extremely communicative abilities and emotionally charged performances. The "quintessential Greg Butler" is an artist who as a pedagogue, adjudicator, soloist, chamber musician and duo pianist has established himself as one of the most diversified talents of his generation.
He has held teaching positions at Mount Allison University, the Eastman School of Music and MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. From July 1,1986 through June 30, 1998, Dr. Butler was Director of the School of Music at the University of Windsor. Dr. Butler retired from the University of Windsor honoured with the rank of Professor Emeritus and currently maintains his association with the School of Music as a Special Instructor in Piano. He presently teaches from his studio in Russell Woods in Tecumseh, ON, and can be contacted through his website, www.butlerpianostudio.com.
Dr. Butler is Past-President of the Windsor-Essex ORMTA Branch, second Vice-President of the Canadian Music Festival Adjudicators' Association and a member of the Windsor Branch of the American Federation of Musicians.
For Interview/Audition Appointment call or email Dr Butler at:
Studio Address: 463 Russell Woods Road,
Tecumseh, ON, N8N 3S6