William Lenihan

​Professor of the Practice in Music, Director of Jazz Performance, Applied Music Lesson Coordinator

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  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1032
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899
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​William Lenihan teaches courses in Jazz Theory, Jazz Improvisation, and Jazz and Classical Guitar while maintaining an active life in performance and composition.

William Lenihan teaches courses in Jazz Theory, Jazz Improvisation, and Jazz and Classical Guitar while maintaining an active life in performance and composition. He performs throughout the U.S. and Europe as a jazz musician but also concertizes performing classical music and electronica. He has performed many times as classical guitarist with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and The New Music Circle and other groups where he has played the opera and chamber repertory of modern works which include guitar.  As a studio guitarist he has played on numerous soundtracks and recordings.  In the world of jazz William has played clubs, concerts and festivals in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and throughout Europe. He has performed or recorded with Ralph Towner, Dave Weckl, Michael Brecker, Ron Carter, Bob Brookmeyer, Chick Corea, and many others.  

At the university he is the musical and artistic director of the Jazz at Holmes concert series which has featured numerous international musicians such as Dave Liebman, Pat Martino, John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Gary Peaccock and others.  His primary teachers in jazz were Richard Beirach, Ralph Towner and Gary Peacock [ECM Records].  He studied composition in masterclasses with a diverse group of composers including Pierre Boulez, Nicholas Slonimsky, Henry Mancini, Bruce Broughton, Jerry Goldsmith and others. At once a composer for film and multimedia, he has composed and produced music for a variety of network television and film projects including collaborations with George Lucas, Ron Howard, David Wheatley, PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC and The Discovery Channel. He also has composed music for a number of trailers including James Bond, License to Kill and many others. His film music has been aired in the U.S., Europe, Australia and in Hong Kong. He is the recipient of a number of awards for film and commercial composition.

William has played in the orchestras of many broadway productions in many cities in the U.S. on tour and also with many popular entertainers including, Julie Andrews, Bernadette Peters, Lou Rawls, various rock and pop acts, and numerous other well-known personalities. He has authored five books in the field of jazz, published by WorldWave Music and regularly gives masterclasses and clinics at conservatories, jazz schools and universities in Europe when on tour. He records for the european jazz labels, Schema Rearwards Milano and Caligola Records in Venice, Italy.  

William also administrates and teaches the study abroad Summer Music Seminar in Florence, Italy at Accademia Europea di Firenze.