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 with Fred Hersch, Taylor Eigsti, and Charlie Banacos.
Will has appeared extensively in performance with Derrick Gardner, Quincy Davis, Jon Gordon, and many others. He has performed abroad with Regina Carter, Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Lionel Loueke, 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 drummer Terreon Gully. 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
In 2016, his second album, Halcyon, was released, featuring a more extensive cast including Quincy Davis, Derrick Gardner, Jon Gordon, and Steve Kirby.
Will has appeared on over 20 recordings as a sideman including the Oceanic Jazz Orchestra’s All Over the Map, Curtis Nowosad’s Dialectics, and the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra’s The Hours, Symphony No. 3.
Aside from his active performance and recording career, Will is a dedicated educator. In addition to teaching full-time at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music, he conducts clinics, workshops, and private lessons throughout Manitoba and abroad.