Clavier Companion - July/August 2017 - 40
William L. Gillock
Many of the most successful and popular of Gillock's
compositions were to flow from his pen during the
years on Solomon Place, including "Sleigh Ride" (1955),
Festival Album (1956), and Fanfare and Other Courtly
Scenes (1957). But it was the debut of the Lyric Preludes
in Romantic Style (1958) that was the defining moment
in his career as a composer. From its first appearance,
it was a best seller and a favorite among both teachers
Gillock began at this time the
strenuous task of workshop touring. Sponsored by his then main
publisher, Willis Music Company,
he travelled around the country
demonstrating his pieces in music
stores, and generating sales of the
music. He also began a rigorous
schedule of judging for festivals
and contests sponsored by both
the Piano Guild and the Federation
of Music Clubs. It was during one
of these tours that Gillock met and
befriended his future partner, Ken
Newsome, an independent piano
teacher and music dealer in Dallas.
Gillock moved to Dallas in 1970,
and eventually settled, with Ken
Newsome, in a newer home in the
suburb of DeSoto, Texas. His teaching was now limited
to just a few students, and included some who came
from great distances to study his music with him.
One of these people, Hiroko Yasuda of Tokyo, Japan,
travelled to DeSoto several summers in a row, staying
for just a week or ten days. She eventually was the
driving force behind the formation of The Gillock
Society of Japan, which continues to hold festivals of
Gillock's music in a number of smaller communities
In the Fall of 1992, RCA Victor released a recording
of Gillock compositions performed by Hitomi Ito, a
"In Memoriam William Gillock" and "A
Reminiscence of William Gillock," Piano
Guild Notes Nov./Dec. 1993.
"William Gillock: Teacher and Friend,"
American Music Teacher Apr./May 1994.
"The Gillock World Tour," American
Music Teacher Feb./Mar. 2010.
rising Japanese pianist who coached with Gillock
during four days in March of 1991, followed by the
exchange of many tapes. Gillock was pleased with the
result, and especially pleased to be recorded on such a
prestigious label. He wrote, "Considering [Ito's] highly
reserved cultural background... I think many of her
performances a remarkable accomplishment. Doesn't
the Victor logo look impressive?"
The release of this recording was indicative of
the appeal of Gillock's music to
students and teachers of other
cultures; his pieces were becoming
known worldwide, and were-
and continue to be-particularly
popular in Japan.
Gillock spent much of his time
during the late '60s, '70s, and '80s
composing, as the vast output
for those years testifies. 1969 was
an especially fruitful year, with
more than ninety titles, including
such as Piano All the Way (in three
volumes). Some of these were
done with the collaboration of Ken
Newsome, whose Oak Cliff Music
Company was running smoothly by
then. Gillock also wrote a number
of four-hand pieces, transcriptions of other composers'
music, and collections of favorite hymns and of carols.
In 1992, Gillock was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,
and found he was losing strength daily. During this
period, he reduced his activity to a minimum. Between
1992 and his demise in 1993, he wrote only three
brief pieces (and they may have been re-workings of
earlier ideas); his adjudications and teaching stopped
altogether. During the summer of 1992 and 1993,
requests from Hiroko Yasuda for lessons were referred
to his former student, Henry Doskey of North Carolina,
and she travelled there for coaching on Gillock's pieces.
The Music of William Gillock, DMA document, University
of Oklahoma, 2006.
Gillock, William L.
Notes to Lyric Preludes in Romantic Style, 50th Anniversary
Letters to Henry Doskey, 1965-1993; "to Becky," 1979
(source: Ken Newsome).
"The Last Interview with William Gillock," Clavier Sept. 1993.