Assistant Professor of Jazz Piano, Desautels Faculty of Music, University of Manitoba
Will Bonness has been an active member of the Winnipeg, Canadian and international jazz scenes since his teen years. At age 17, Will joined Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau Band for a year-long world tour which included performances at such venues as the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London. After leaving Maynard’s band in 2004, Will completed his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Manitoba and traveled to New York and Boston to continue his studies.
Will has appeared with several visiting artists to Winnipeg including Miguel Zenon, Stefon Harris, and Marcus Printup. He has performed abroad with Regina Carter and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with Avishai Cohen (trumpet) and Lionel Loueke in New York City, and at jazz festivals throughout Canada. He continues to perform regularly throughout Manitoba in small ensembles and in larger groups including the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra.
In 2009, Will released his debut recording as a leader, Subtle Fire, featuring internationally acclaimed Steve Kirby on bass and Terreon Gully on drums. Subtle Fire showcases Will’s “immense technique, excellent compositions, and a creative style of arrangements that strongly engage the listener, while leaving room for much musical exploration.” -Taylor Eigsti, Grammy-winning jazz pianist
Will has also appeared as a sideman on a number of recordings including the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra’s Steppin’ Out (2008), Larry Roy and Steve Kirby’s Wicked Grin (2008), and Papa Mambo’s Crooked Cha (2007).
In addition to his active performance and recording career, Will is an active educator. In addition to teaching full-time at the Desautels Faculty of Music at the University of Manitoba, he conducts clinics, workshops, and private lessons throughout Manitoba and abroad.