William Albert Beller

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William Albert Beller (19 July 1900 Burlington, Wisconsin – 20 February 1986)[1] was an American concert pianist[2] and professor of music at Marquette University and Columbia University. He was deemed a musical prodigy when he was 4 years old.[3][4] He had also taught piano at the Bronx House Music School in the 1930s.

Formal training[edit]

In 1916, Beller won scholarship at the Chicago Musical College, where, in 1917, he received a Senior Diploma with the Diamond Medal for Excellence in Scholarship. In 1918, he received a Graduate Medal; and in 1921, a Bachelor of Music degree with a prize of a grand piano. At some point (upon one of his graduations) he received a Gold Medal.

Beller studied piano (i) 2 years with Arthur L.J. Frazier (1881–1973),[5] (ii) with Howard Wells[6] in Chicago,[7] (iii) with Tobias Matthay and, (iv) in 1926, with Josef Lhevinne in New York under a Juilliard fellowship.

Concert work in New York[edit]

When Beller arrived in New York, he was represented by NBC Artists Service (aka National Broadcasting and Concert Bureau), George W. Engles (1890–1963), Managing Director, RCA Building, New York City.[8]

Teaching positions[edit]

Beller also taught piano in Hartford, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. Beller also maintained a private studio at Carnegie Hall.


Columbia University

Private lessons (outside of Columbia)

  • Don Friedman (jazz pianist, music educator) – studied with Beller from 1960 to 1961


  • 1925 — Winner, Piano, National Federation of Music Clubs. Each biennium, the Wisconsin Federation of Music Clubs sponsored a contest for young artists and student musicians, in all classes of music, piano, voice, violin, organ, and cello. The winners of the contest compete with winners of the same contest from Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska; and the winners from that district appear in the finals at the meeting of the National Federation, a composed of twelve districts of the United States. Beller won the National competition in Portland, Oregon, which included a $500 prize.[13][14]
  • 1925 — Winner, Mason and Hamlin Prize, thereupon presented as soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra[15]
  • 1926 — Awarded a Juilliard Fellowship with Josef Lhévinne

The Chicago days[edit]

In 1925, while in Chicago, Beller worked for Lyon & Healy and was a Duo-Art artist.


  1. ^ "Obituary: William Beller", New York Times, March 16, 1986, pg. 41
  2. ^ "Notes: Mr. William A. Beller", The Vocational Summary, Federal Board for Vocational Education, Vol. 4, No. 1, pg. 7 (May 1921); OCLC 1769256, 310907582
  3. ^ "St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish" (No. 4 of a Series on "Our Parish’s First 100 Years"), Burlington, Wisconsin
  4. ^ "Unusual Stories about Unusual People", The Decatur Review (Illinois), February 14, 1925, pg. 6, col. 4
  5. ^ "Piano-Violin Recital for Mendelssohn", Daily Register-Gazette (Rockford, Illinois), January 26, 1929, pg. 13
  6. ^ International Who's Who in Music and Musical Gazetteer, Vol. 5 (1st ed.), César Victor Saerchinger (1884–1971) (ed.), pg. 681, New York: Current Literature Publishing Company, New York (1918); OCLC 8654503
  7. ^ "Wherein Nature Meets Acoustics: With Melody Makers", by Edward Moore, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. D1, June 14, 1925
  8. ^ Program Notes by William Keller, Town Hall, March 2, 193?
  9. ^ "Beller Will Instruct at Columbia in Fall", Dallas Morning News, October 5, 1941, Sect IV, pg. 5
  10. ^ "Dallas Conservatory to Start Second Year", Dallas Morning News, September 18, 1933, Sec. I
  11. ^ Who's Who in the World, Marquis Who's Who (2006); OCLC 4780468308
  12. ^ International encyclopedia of women composers (Wallach is in Vol. 2 of 2), Aaron I. Cohen (ed.), New York: Books & Music USA (1987); OCLC 16714846
  13. ^ "Wisconsin's Place in the Field of Music", by Winifred Vanderpool Miller (President Wisconsin Federation of Music Clubs), Wisconsin Blue Book, pg. 102; OCLC 17289696
  14. ^ "William Beller Captures Big Prize", The Music Trade Review, July 11, 1925, pg. 27
  15. ^ "William Beller to Give Piano Recital Sunday", Cornell Daily Sun, April 16, 1931, Vol. 51, Issue 145, pg. 1