Known for her passion for performing and bringing community together through live music, Dr. Mary Vanhoozer is an active soloist and chamber musician. She began piano at age five with her father, an amateur pianist and professional theologian. At age nine, she was admitted to St. Mary's School of Music, an independent specialist music school in Edinburgh, Scotland, which offers both music and academic education to musically gifted children. It was there that she developed an enduring love of folk music and Scottish fiddling.
During her conservatory training in the United States, Vanhoozer performed in masterclasses for Leon Fleisher (at Cleveland Institute of Music) John Perry (at the Montecito Festival) and Imogen Cooper (at the Gilmore Festival.) She has appeared as a soloist with the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra and the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra. During her studies with lute performer and musicologist Paul O’Dette at the Eastman School of Music, she delved into the world of early music and Baroque performance practice, which deepened her love for the music of Bach. Her debut solo piano album - scheduled to be released this year - will include the complete keyboard partitas of J. S. Bach and a newly commissioned Partita for Piano, by Argentinian-born composer Josh Rodriguez.
In 2014, Vanhoozer formed the Brahms' Ghost Trio, an outreach chamber music group invested in learning the classic repertoire for piano trio, as well as commissioning new music. In March 2016, the trio toured California over ten days, performing and teaching masterclasses at Westmont College and Biola University; the tour also featured a new commission: Rodriguez's Piano Trio No. 1, which was met with resounding enthusiasm.
In 2015, Vanhoozer produced her first album of original songs, Songs of Day and Night, which features the poetry of Christina Rossetti, Eugene Field, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson. This song collection represents Vanhoozer's diverse musical range; her choice of instruments (Scottish fiddle, mandolin, djembe, and hammered dulcimer) reveals her continued passion for folk music while the melodies themselves show an influence of early French and Spanish music. Vanhoozer continues to write songs with the goal of releasing a second album of original songs within the next couple of years.
This fall, Vanhoozer is excited to join the ranks of college music educators: she will begin teaching class piano and musicianship at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA. She previously served as director of music at New City Presbyterian Church in Royal Oak, MI. At New City, she directed a seasonal choir, coached the New City String Ensemble, and co-produced two albums of original music and hymn arrangements along with Josh Rodriguez and Todd Maki. In addition to teaching this fall, Vanhoozer will tour a preview performance of Bach and Rodriguez in Chicago.
Vanhoozer has earned a BM from Wheaton College Conservatory, a MM from the Eastman School of Music, and a DMA from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Her music mentors are Peter Evans, Carol Honigberg, Dr. Daniel Paul Horn, Dr. Douglas Humpherys, and Dr. Daniel Shapiro.
Bringing Music Home