Pennsylvania native Billy Test is an emerging, award-winning New York City based pianist, composer, arranger, and educator. Test graduated summa cum laude from William Paterson University in 2011 with a dual degree in jazz and classical piano performance; winning the first concerto competition in the university’s history in 2011. Test’s teachers included Mulgrew Miller, Harold Mabern, James Weidman, Armen Donelian and Gary Kirkpatrick. In May of 2015, Test completed his masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music, where his teachers included Jim McNeely, Garry Dial, Phil Markowitz, Dave Liebman, Lisa Yui, and Marjean Olson. Test has also studied with Jean-Michel Pilc, Frank Kimbrough, Sophia Rosoff, Marc Mommaas, and Fred Hersch.
Billy has performed with the Village Vanguard Orchestra, Miho Hazama, Dave Liebman, Joe Magnarelli, Rich Perry, Boris Kozlov, Ian Froman, Scott Robinson, Joel Frahm, Leon Parker, Ugonna Okegwo, Sheila Jordan, Tim Horner, Noah Preminger, Tony Moreno, Marc Mommas, Bill Goodwin, Steve LaSpina, Todd Coolman, Jay Leonhart, Adam Niewood, Billy Drummond, Jerry Bergonzi, Dennis Mackrel, Will Gallison, and Giacomo Gates, among others.
Billy has been featured in numerous solo piano residencies, and his current quintet project, THE TEST SUBJECTS, performs at Cornelia Street Cafe, the Kitano, Shapeshifter Lab, and the Deer Head Inn. Billy received 2nd place in the 2017 Montreux Jazz Piano Competition, an honorable mention prize in the 2011 Pearl and Julius Young Music Competition, and was a semi-finalist in the 2012 Nottingham International Solo Jazz Piano Competition. Test was a member of the Betty Carter Institute at the Kennedy Center in the spring of 2014. In the fall of 2014, Billy participated in the Abdullah Ibrahim Masterclass at Carnegie Hall. In June of 2015, Test participated in the Stean’s Institute at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago. His composition, “The What If Game,” was among the finalists in the 2018 Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer’s Awards. He was a member of the BMI Workshop, under the direction of Andy Farber and Ted Nash. Test was named the graduate college winner in the outstanding soloist category of the 2015 Downbeat Student Music Awards.
Billy served as accompanist for Essential Voices USA under the direction of Judith Clurman. The choir is in residence at Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space, and also with the New York Pops Orchestra. His work with the choir created collaborations with Stephen Schwartz, Paul Shoenfield, Larry Hochman, and Joshua Schmidt, among others. Test is featured on Clurman’s CD, CELEBRATING THE AMERICAN SPIRIT, accompanying singer/broadway star Ron Raines in addition to a piano solo. The recording was the featured story in classical music on NPR on inauguration day, 2012, and has received countless rave reviews. In April of 2012, Test made his Carnegie Hall Debut under the baton of Judith Clurman at the New York Pop’s Stephen Schwartz birthday celebration, accompanying the New York premier of “TESTIMONY.”
Test is an in-demand blues musician as well, formerly performing with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jaimoe, one of the original founding drummers of the legendary Allman Brother’s Band. Other blues accolades include frequent performances with Jr. Mack, Michael Hill, and Clarence Spady.
Billy is faculty member of the New York Jazz Workshop, Manhattan School of Music, and Manhattan School of Music Precollege and maintains an in-demand studio for private instruction. He has been a guest clinician and educator at Slippery Rock University, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and the Penn State Summer Music Academy, as well as a clinician and adjudicator for many competitions.