Composer and pianist Bill Whitley writes music deeply rooted in mysticism and images of nature.
Elements of gregorian chant, raga music, gamelan, rock and progressive rock are frequently present in his work; and composers who continue to influence his work include Brian Eno, John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Meredith Monk, John Luther Adams, Giacinto Scelsi, Morton Feldman, Lou Harrison, Pauline Oliveros, Paul Dresher, and David Lang.
Whitley’s music has been performed in Italy, Russia, and the U.S., by ensembles ranging from chorus to solo electric guitar. Commissions consist of chamber, choral, vocal, and orchestral works.
Whitley was born in the Northwest United States, and he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1994 from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington where he studied organ, piano, and composition. In 2000, he earned a Master of Music degree in composition at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho; and in 2007, a PhD in composition at the University of Oregon, in Eugene, Oregon.
Bill has studied composition with Robert Kyr, David Crumb, Robert Dickow, Dan Bukvich, and Fr. Kevin Waters; and has had master classes with Lou Harrison, George Crumb, Veljo Tormis, John Adams, and John Corigliano.
Whitley has taught at The University of Idaho, Western Oregon University, The University of Portland, and The University of Oregon.
Bill Whitley’s music is recorded on Teal Creek Music and Ravello Records, and his choral works are published by Trinitas Choral Series.
Three Representative Works:
• Little White Salmon (2011)
• Lily of Force (2009)
• Labyrinth Walk (1992)
• Awake (2015)
Visit Me Online:
• Music: SoundCloud, CD Baby, Teal Creek Music, Amazon.com. JW Pepper
• Web: Society of Composers: William Whitley
• Video: YouTube
• Social Media: Facebook, Linkedin
I feel like Portland is my cultural inheritance. Maybe because I was born in Brewster, Washington, where the Okanogan flows into the Columbia, and I have always retained a special relationship with the Columbia river, and much of my work references it, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly.
Perhaps this is what drew me to the Valley.
I have lived and worked as a composer and musician in Oregon since 2000. From 2000-2004, I was a doctoral student of Robert Kyr and David Crumb at the University of Oregon. After my coursework at the UofO was completed (2004), I began teaching composition at Western Oregon University. I taught at WOU from 2004-2015 before taking an out-of-state Visiting Professorship.
Since 2016, I have been working as professional composer, while continuing to live in the Mid-Willamette valley.
As long as I'm living on an immediate tributary to the Columbia, I continue to be at home.