William Joseph Schwartz III better known as William Joseph, is an American classical pianist, composer, and recording artist. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1980. He has released three studio albums: Within (2004), Beyond (2008), and Be Still (2012). His genres include Classical and Pop. He has a vigorous performing style which includes playing piano upside down. Per Bijog.com, he is also “credited for creating the theme song for The Phoenix Coyotes hockey team and for creating the moving anthem "Seeds of Hope," which garnered major international media coverage and recognition to the Kosovo Refugee Crisis.”
He started playing the piano at the age of four and started composing songs at the age of five. His story is that he was watching Fraggle Rock on television and played along with the music from the show on his plastic piano. His parents observed him and decided to get him some piano lessons.
The Beginnings of a Music Career
At the age of eight, William won a full musical scholarship provided by the Boys and Girls Club of America, enabling him to study piano with acclaimed Russian classical piano instructor Stella Saperstein. He studied with her for 13 years. Though he was trained classically, he says that he could not stay within the boundaries of classical music and enjoys making music that tells a story and is both dramatic and cinematic.
He was the first teacher hired by Piano Warehouse in Phoenix, Arizona, and taught for the company Arizona Music Lessons, later renamed the Arizona Music Academy, for which he still performs short teaching periods.
On the Road to Success
In 2003, William performed at a charity event in his hometown where he met David Foster, for whom he played. Foster was impressed, and they began collaborating, eventually writing several songs together that would appear on William’s 2004 major -label debut, Within. By this time, he was signed to Foster’s 143 Records label - a sub-label of Reprise Records and Warner Music.
In August and September 2004, William was the opening act for Josh Groban’s "Closer Tour," covering 12 cities in the U.S. and Canada, and giving 16 concerts. During November and December 2005, he was the opening act for Clay Aiken’s "Joyful Noise Tour," giving 40 concerts, covering 36 cities in the U.S. and Canada. He also collaborated with Aiken on his album A Thousand Different Ways. And, he has supported such artists as Barbara Streisand, Natalie Cole, Kenny G., Il Divo, and Peter Cincotti at select concerts around the world.
William has also appeared center stage for several prestigious celebrity events, including tennis great Andre Agassi’s “Grand Slam for Children” fundraiser with Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and John Mayer; a charity event for Carousel of Hope with Beyoncé; as well as at private parties held in the homes of actresses Eva Longoria and Jane Seymour. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger also personally invited him to play at an intimate birthday party for his wife, Maria Shriver.
2008 saw the release of William’s second album Beyond. In February 2008, William performed “Kashmir” at the star-studded opening of the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, an invitation-only gala event attended by Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, Prince Andrew, Steve Martin, Christina Aguilera, and Dustin Hoffman, among many others. Also in 2008, Dr. John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, selected Beyond to be the theme music for his website and Internet television programming.
Brendan Graham (who wrote "You Raise Me Up") heard William perform in Los Angeles, and after hearing "Sweet Remembrance of You" he was so inspired that he wanted to add lyrics. They collaborated and created the beautiful anthem "O, America" and the Irish supergroup Celtic Women have adopted it as their own! They sang it every night on their American tour, and their adoring fans always rewarded the song with a standing ovation. The song was released to the world on 23 June 2009. Also, in 2009, William played an acoustic version of Within for Beta Records TV. In 2012, he released his third album titled Be Still.
William has said:
- I absolutely love playing in front of an audience. Not only do I want to take people on a musical journey, but I want to connect with them and hear what they think, which is why I love meeting people after the shows. The fans are as much a part of this as everything else and I take that connection with them very seriously. In the end, I just want to bring as many people along with me on this adventure as possible.
William Joseph is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served a two-year mission in Australia. Recognizing his talents, his Mission President gave him opportunities to compose and perform music in addition to his regular missionary work. William has said, "Music breaks down barriers; it softens people. I’m not a man of many words; I’m not an elaborate speaker. But I absolutely have a testimony. I love the gospel." He is married and has three children.
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