Known for her joy, creativity and imagination, multi instrumentalist Mary Vanhoozer fuses artistry with passion in her many musical projects. After winning the Lake Forest Concerto Competition in 2002, she made her solo piano debut with the Lake Forest Symphony Orchestra. Later as an undergraduate student she went on to perform with the Wheaton College Symphony Orchestra as a finalist in the Wheaton Concerto Competition. A winner of the Musicians Club of Women competition, she has also performed a solo piano recital at the Chicago Cultural Center. Her debut solo piano album, featuring the complete keyboard partitas of J. S. Bach and a new commission by composer Josh Rodriguez, was selected as a finalist in the 2022 American Prize.
Mary grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she learned to play Scottish fiddle tunes and developed an enduring enthusiasm for folk musics. A versatile performer and melodist, she has produced four albums of original tunes. The melodies offer a unique blend of musical styles and traditions significant to her: French and English folk, and early music. Bard and Ceilidh — her one-woman studio recording ensemble — is rooted in historical and folk traditions, creating a sound world into which the child in each of us is invited: to marvel, rest, and enter into creative but serious play.
An avid enthusiast of the hurdy gurdy and early music, Mary is a member of the critically acclaimed Ciaramella Ensemble: her first concert with the ensemble featured a concert of renaissance dances, which was broadcast live on KUSC radio. Mary has appeared as a special guest (hurdy gurdy) for a program of French noëls with the USC Thornton Baroque Sinfonia, and given lecture recitals on the hurdy gurdy in medieval, renaissance, and baroque dance music at the University of California Riverside and Westmont College. Mary can be heard playing hurdy gurdy on a number of albums, including the GRAMMY winning original game soundtrack Assassin's Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris by Stephanie Economou.
A dedicated teacher, Mary helps her students gain a deeper love and understanding of music, develop a vision to share live music with local community, and cultivate an appreciation for the craft of performance. She currently teaches piano at the Wheaton College School of the Arts and serves as adjunct faculty at Elmhurst University. Mary holds degrees in piano performance from Wheaton College Conservatory (B.M.), the Eastman School of Music (M.M.), and the Cleveland Institute of Music (D.M.A).