2017 Conference Artist


In a performing career spanning over three decades, pianist Willis Delony has won acclaim as a leading classical/jazz crossover artist. His innovative concert explorations of the two musical worlds are showcased in a series of solo piano recordings on the Centaur label.  A New World A' Comin' – Classical and Jazz Connections was released in 2001. Double Dance – Classical and Jazz Connections IIwas released in 2008, while the most recent installment of the series, Out of Character – Classical and Jazz Connections III, was released in October 2014. Previous album credits include a recording of sonatas by Samuel Barber and Sergei Prokofiev, also on the Centaur label, and a jazz album entitled Civilized Conversations, featuring Delony and bassist Bill Grimes. He collaborated with bassoonist William Ludwig on the Mark Records release, Rhapsody in Bassoon, which features the world premiere recording of André Previn’s Sonata for Bassoon and Piano.

Delony has appeared as piano soloist, guest pianist/arranger or conductor with orchestras throughout the United States as well as orchestras in Canada, the former Soviet Union and China. As a solo and collaborative recitalist, he has performed classical and jazz concerts throughout the U.S. – including a solo recital at Carnegie Hall (October, 2014) – as well as France, Germany, the former Soviet Union, Mexico and Brazil. He has performed with many of the nation’s leading jazz artists – including recent concerts with saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trumpet legend Bobby Shew –  and is co-host/pianist for Louisiana State University’s popular concert series Hot Summer Nights – Cool Jazz. His pops orchestra arrangements have been performed throughout the U.S. and Canada, including over 50 scores written for the Minneapolis-based jazz vocal quintet Five By Design, with whom he has recorded two albums. He has worked for many years with Baton Rouge producer/sound engineer Joey Decker of Disk Productions, co-creating dozens of award-winning commercial soundtracks for clients nationwide. He collaborates regularly with leading contemporary composers, having recently premiered the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by Stephen Dankner with the LSU Symphony Orchestra. He has recorded and performed solo works by Paris-based American composer Joseph Makholm, as well as solo piano works by jazz composer Les Hooper. In January 2017, he premiered Greg Yasinitsky’s Jazz Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. During the 2017-18 concert season, his performance schedule takes him to Costa Rica where in August he will present a masterclass and solo recital at the Escuela de Arts Musicales at the University of Costa Rica. In October, 2017 he will be the featured performer and clinician for the North Carolina Music Teachers Association annual convention. In November, 2017 he travels to Paris for a series of jazz performances and a solo recital.

Delony is the Virginia Martin Howard Professor of Piano and Professor of Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he has been a member of the School of Music faculty since 2000. From 1986-2000 he served on the music faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University and is a former member of the music faculty at Delta State University. He is a past recipient of an Artist Fellowship awarded by the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and in May of 2012 received the Edith Kirkpatrick Arts Leadership Award given by the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra. He was a longtime student of renowned pianist and teacher Jack Guerry at Louisiana State University, and also studied with pianist Ann Schein at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD.


     “A Star Vibist,” as he has been trumpeted by Jazztimes, Jon Metzger has developed an international  presence through extensive touring, recording, and lecturing.  A winner of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant for Performance, he has appeared at well-known jazz venues across the United States and has led his quartet on tours of Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and Austria.  He has played for kings and queens and other heads of state while serving as a jazz ambassador to more than 20 foreign countries in the Near East, Northern and Sub-Sahara Africa, and Central America under the auspices of the United States Information Agency’s Arts America Program.  He has also performed at the Spoleto Festival, both in Spoleto, Italy and Charleston, South Carolina; appeared at the East Coast Jazz Festival in Washington, DC; dueled vibes with Lionel Hampton at the Jazzfest Festival in Kingston, Jamaica; performed with Gunther Schuller as part of the American Composers Series at Strathmore Hall Arts Center (Maryland); and been featured in the Martin Williams Jazz Concert Series at the Kennedy Center.

     His recordings have received widespread airplay and critical acclaim, garnering three Grammy nominations.  Of his seven albums as a leader, The Washington Post called his release Into the Light “music that simultaneously appeals to the head, heart, and feet,” while Jazztimes added “Metzger’s musicianship shines,” and Cadence concluded “Metzger is a flawless vibraphonist.”  On these releases Metzger was joined by Fred Hersch, Phil Markowitz, Marc Johnson, Harvie Swartz, Joey Baron, Jack Wilkins, and Allison Miller, among others.  He has appeared on dozens of other recordings including six CDs with vocalist Ronnie Wells and pianist Ron Elliston (one was a Cadence top ten jazz release choice), two recordings with the John Brown Jazz Orchestra (with Cyrus Chestnut, Brad Leali, Vincent Gardner, and Herlin Riley), Iris Benjamin’s Passing By, Claire Ritter’s Waltzing the Splendor and The Stream of Pearls Project, Baron Tymas’ Insight at Midnight, Jack Wilkins’ Blue and Green Project (with Danny Gottlieb), and the NC Jazz Repertory Orchestra’s Benny Goodman Swing Collection.  He was also the first artist profiled on the Southern Arts Federation’s landmark Jazz South radio program and is now the only artist selected more than once.

     Metzger has conducted master classes from Boston’s Berklee College and the University of North Texas to the University of North Florida and CAL Arts and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution.  He has also given many clinics at the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention and the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference.  He has been endorsed for 28 years by the vibraphone manufacturer Musser which offers subsidies for his clinic appearances. He is now also endorsed by Pro Mark and has a signature mallet in their line. His numerous articles have appeared in Percussive Notes, Jazz Player Magazine, and Sticks & Mallets Magazine.  His many works for percussion are published by C. Alan Publications, and his 366-page method book, The Art and Language of Jazz Vibes (now in the fifth printing of its second edition), is considered the standard in the industry.  Now the Artist in Residence, Professor of Music, and Chair of the Music Department at Elon University, where he was presented with the coveted Distinguished Scholar Award, he also has served as the Associate Editor of the International Association of Jazz Educators’ Journal and as a Resource Team Member for the journal.  He is a recipient of the North Carolina Miles Davis Jazz Service Award and has recently completed service as a Cultural Envoy for the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, working with the music faculty at the Conservatory at Haceteppe State University on the formation of their new Jazz Studies Program.

     Metzger, born 1959, holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the North Carolina School of the Arts.  Originally from the Washington, DC area, he lives with his wife, Linda, and their basset hound in North Carolina.



Lisa Bastien began piano lessons at the age of four, studying with her mother, Jane Smisor Bastien. She received her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Drake University and her Master’s degree in piano pedagogy from Arizona State University. After completing her master’s degree, Lisa moved to New Orleans and taught in the Preparatory Department of Loyola University.  Collectively the Bastien family has authored over five hundred publications that have taught millions of students worldwide how to play piano.  Lisa Bastien and her husband Basil Hanss now reside in New York City, where Lisa maintains a full time teaching studio offering private and group lessons to students of diverse ages, abilities and interests. Lisa adores teaching piano, and finding new ways to encourage and inspire her students.