Wednesday, 03 February 2016 18:12

Bill Irwin Passes

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Bill Irwin Bill Irwin

Bill Irwin, well-known organist, pianist, arranger, educator, and Mesa resident passed away February 1st following abdominal surgery. 

  During his long career Bill performed pop organ concerts throughout the USA, Canada, England, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.   His many books of organ arrangements and organ courses sold in many countries throughout the world.  His articles on music have appeared in music publications internationally, including, most recently, a recurring column in the ATOS journal, Theatre Organ.

Bill wrote the following about himself on his page on LinkedIn:

 

 With no father and a single mother to support, I had to leave school and get a job. After taking piano lessons for about two years, I started earning spending money playing gigs with small groups. I later studied with a well known teacher and paid for my lessons with the music money I was earning. Started teaching as a young boy and kept up my playing and self-study. No degrees, but I have taught teachers with degrees and have lectured in several countries around the world, using interpreters in my four visits to Japan. On my Web site: http://theatreorgans.com/uk/irwin/ you can see the result of decades of arranging and writing study books. In the Library of Congress, I have seven completely recorded courses for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. No print or Braille. Just my voice and performance on the recordings.

Bill, mic in hand, in his role as M/C at Desert Winds 2004 As a member and friend of the Valley of the Sun Chapter, Bill served as M/C for our three day Desert Windsevent in 2004, and shared his talent as a performer with us at our meetings many times.  When I last saw Bill two years ago, he was physically spry, mentally sharp and could easily have passed for a man 15 years younger. Bill was 92 when he died.

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Judy Sunday, 29 September 2019 21:48 posted by Judy

    Bill Erwin's organ arrangements were always the best! I would use them when teaching my advanced students, and struggled plenty on my own, learning many of the more difficult ones. I had always been a piano player - and I knew chords - but I still struggled with three staff organ arrangements - especially the good ones. When you played one of Bill Erwin's arrangements well, the organ would sing. Bill's understanding of tonality/harmony really made spectacular arrangements, and his personality was just as spectacular. I think it must have been around 1977 or so when he visited our central coast community and did a workshop for the teachers at our music studio. What a teacher and showman he was! Full of zest and so willing to share his knowledge and LOVE of music! Many years later, after a favorite adult organ student passed, I managed to purchase her used Lowrey Citation Theatre Spinet from a local used music store.(It had always been one of my favorite "home size" organs.) Inside the bench were several of Bill's books, which he had signed for her. I will treasure the books - and my memories of how Bill Erwin touched the lives of so many of us. Certainly memories to treasure!

  • Comment Link Mike Tuesday, 23 April 2019 13:09 posted by Mike

    As an adult beginning organ student in 1967, I lived by Bill Irwin's books. All were available everywhere.

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