Music Feeds the Soul: An Evening of Mary Lou Williams

Legendary jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams
Thursday, October 12, 2023 - 7:30pm
Arrupe Auditorium

This special event, co-sponsored by the Thomas More Center for Catholic Thought and Culture and the Center for Arts and Letters, features an evening of conversation and a performance of the music of the late jazz great Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981).

As an adult convert to Catholicism with many ties to Jesuits, Williams expressed her faith in her music, composing jazz as sacred music and, in her early career as part of the 1940s Kansas City jazz scene, inspired and mentored such artists as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker. Join Deanna Witkowski, jazz pianist and author of Williams’ biography, "Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul"; Chuck Haddix, Curator of the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, host of KCUR’s program “Fish Fry,” and author of "Bird: The Life and Music of Charlie Parker"; and Dr. Dina Bennett, Deputy Director of the American Jazz Museum for a lively discussion of Williams' expression of her Catholic faith in every aspect of her life, especially in her care for fellow musicians and in jazz compositions and performances. A reception follows this free event. Please register here to reserve a seat.

Deanna Witkowski will also offer a workshop for music students on October 12.

Pictured: Mary Lou Williams plays the piano in New York City in 1946. (photo: William P. Gottlieb / Library of Congress)