William Kinderman, a formidable concert pianist, chamber musician, and an international authority on the music and creative process of Ludwig van Beethoven, is the inaugural holder of the Leo M. Klein and Elaine Krown Klein Chair in Performance Studies and professor of music at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. A 2010 recipient of the Humboldt Research Award for lifetime achievement, Kinderman provides vision and leadership in the academic curriculum for the school’s master of music and doctor of musical arts degree programs. The endowed chair, created through a gift from Elaine Krown Klein to honor her late husband, Leo, was established to attract and retain the highest level of performer-scholar to the school of music’s faculty and to enhance the music department’s reputation as an innovative center for the training of the “thinking musician.”
Kinderman has been praised for his “intellectual energy and distinctive insight” by the New York Times. His publications include books on Mozart, Wagner, and the creative process in music, as well as a book on Beethoven’s “Diabelli” Variations. His CD recording of that work (Hyperion, currently Arietta Records) was described as “the most outstanding Diabelli Variations to have appeared for ages” by the Penguin Guide to Compact Discs.
In 2017, Utopian Visions and Visionary Art: Beethoven’s ‘Empire of the Mind’ – Revisited was published as a result of his work as co-curator of Vienna’s first Beethoven Museum, where he organized a major conference on the German composer and pianist. Kinderman completed the book Beethoven: A Political Artist in Revolutionary Times for the 2020 worldwide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, a study that has also appeared in German and is being translated in simplified Chinese in mainland China and into traditional Mandarin in Taiwan. This volume includes a companion website with access to several of his recordings.
In 2021, Kinderman was the main organizer of a hybrid international conference on “Beethoven’s ‘Empire of the Mind’: Artistic ‘Effigies of the Ideal’ and the Cultural Politics of Resistance,” held in Bonn, Germany. In 2022, he was co-editor of a new book entitled Beethoven the European: Transcultural Contexts of Performance, Interpretation and Reception.
Kinderman received his bachelor of arts degree at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. He earned his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and taught at the University of Victoria in British Columbia for 20 years, while also holding guest appointments in Berlin. Since 2001, he has served as professor of music at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, along with several other affiliate, guest, and visiting appointments in Munich and Vienna. His recent lectures and recitals have taken him to Vienna, Bonn, Paris, Oslo, Barcelona, Beijing, Shanghai, New York, and Boston as well as other cities in Europe, Asia, and North America.
During September 2023, he is visiting several Chinese cities, with lectures and performances in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Lanzhou, and Harbin.