Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Knutson, Mary Louise

Knutson, Mary Louise, pianist, composer, educator; b. Madison, WI, 19 April 19 1966. She was adopted at birth by Dr. Kenneth R. Knutson (b. Rapid City, SD, 1927-1997) and Barbara M. Knutson (b. Barbara Jean Miller, Aberdeen, SD, 1929), and grew up in Wausau, WI.  She has a sister Sarah (b. 1962) and a brother Paul (b. 1964) who were also adopted.

Mary Louise studied classical piano from age 4-18; including one summer session at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY at age 17.  She also had classical violin lessons from age 9-18.  From age 18-22, she studied classical piano at the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Appleton, WI with Theodore Rehl; Jazz Composition and Arranging for two years with Fred Sturm (former Directer of Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music and co-founder of the jazz nonet Matrix); private jazz piano lessons for two summers with John Harmon (co-founder of the jazz nonet Matrix), and performed in jazz ensembles each year, which were also led by Fred Sturm.  She graduated cum laude with a BM in Piano Performance in 1988.

In 1988 Knutson moved to Minneapolis Minnesota where she began freelancing as a jazz pianist.  Today she is one of the area1s most sought-after pianists, performing regularly with various instrumental groups, vocalists, and as the leader of her own trio.  Her debut trio CD, 'Call Me When You Get There', charted in the top 50 in the United States and Canada (JazzWeek) and earned her the award for 'Top New Jazz Instrumentalist' from KWJL Radio in Palmdale, CA in 2001.  An acclaimed composer, Knutson has won numerous awards, including two from Billboard magazine for her compositions 'How Will I Know?' and 'Meridian'.  She also teaches Jazz Piano and Improvisation at Carleton College in Northfield, MN.

Recordings:
Call Me When You Get There (2000)
As sideperson:
John Altenburgh: Old City (1990); Teather J.: Fresh (1991); John Greiner: Shades (1991); The Mark Ladley Trio: Self-titled (1991); Naima: So Much Like Real Life (1991); The Mark Ladley Trio: Strictly Business (1992); Jazz Ensemble Signature Series (1995); Jazz Ensemble Signature Series (1996); Jazz Ensemble Signature Series (1997); Steve Vecchi: A Return to Melody (1997); 'Tis the Season: R&B Christmas (1999); Tis the Season (Big Band Christmas (1999); Teresa Manzella: Torch Swingin1 (2000); KBEM Jazz 88: Chestnuts: Cookin1 at the Dakota Holiday Special (2001); Gabberts Jazz at the G: 2001-2002 Season (2001-2002); Connie Evingson: The Secret of Christmas (2002) Various Artists: In His Hands: A Tribute to Bobby Peterson (2002)
As a composer:
Hornheads: 5 Heads Are Better Than 1 (1997)

Radio and telvevision broadcasts:
Live Performance, Morning Show with Dale Connelly, MPR - 99.5 FM - Hibbing, MN, 2002;
Live Performance, Talking Volumes with Katherine Lanpher, accompanying Salman Rushdie as he read from his book, MPR - 91.1 FM - St. Paul, MN, 2002;
Radio Interviews:
Minnesota Connection with Marianne Sullivan, KBEM - 88.5 FM -Minneapolis, MN, 2002;
Morning Show with Amir Raheem, KWJL - 1380 AM - Lancaster, CA, 2002;
Jazz Sides with Dan Clemons, WWSP - 90 FM - Stevens Point, WI, 2002;
Morning Show with Amir Raheem, KWJL - 1380 AM - Lancaster, CA, 2001;
The Jazz Image with Leigh Kammon, MPR - 91.1 FM - St. Paul, MN, 2001;
Word of Mouth: Arts Roundup with Chris Roberts, MPR - 91.1 FM - St. Paul, MN, 2001;
Morning Show with Dale Connelly, MPR - 99.5 FM - St. Paul, MN, 2001;
Good Night Club with Patty Peterson, WCCO - 830 AM - Minneapolis, MN, 2001;
Minnesota Connection with Connie Evingson, KBEM - 88.5 FM - Minneapolis, MN, 2001;
Afternoon Cruise with Kevin O1Connor, KBEM - 88.5 FM - Minneapolis, MN, 2001;
Fresh Ears with Richard Paske, KFAI - 90.3 FM - Minneapolis, MN, 2001;
Icicle Jazz with Rhona Baron, KOHO - 101.1 FM - Leavenworth, WA, 2001;
Indie Jazz Pilot with Rhona Baron, KOHO - 101.1 FM - Leavenworth, WA, 2001;
Television Interviews/Performances:
Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Today, KARE 11 - Minneapolis, MN, 2001;
Mary Louise Knutson Trio, NewsNight MN, KTCA - Ch. 2 - St. Paul, MN, 2001

Films and Documentaries:
Wellington Lee: 60 Years of Artistic Photography, a documentary by Mike Dust & Timothy G. Piotrowski (2001) - Composed and recorded original music.

Unissued Recordings or Films/Videos:
3/24/02: a one camera video shoot - about 1 hr of Mini DV featuring Mary Louise Knutson playing solo piano at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN
3/10/02: a three camera video shoot - about 2 hrs of Mini DV featuring the Mary Louise Knutson Trio at the Artists1 Quarter, St. Paul, MN

Awards:
2001, Top New Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year, KWJL Radio Awards
1996, Honorable Mention for composition "Meridian", Billboard Song Contest
1996, Honorable Mention for composition "How Will I Know?", Billboard Song Contest
1988, Award for Jazz Composition and Arranging, Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Appleton, WI
1987, Award for Jazz Composition and Arranging, Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, Appleton, WI

Contact information:
Website: www.MaryLouiseKnutson.com
Email: mlk@MaryLouiseKnutson.com
Phone: 612.728.5909
Meridian Jazz
Mary Louise Knutson
PO Box 80667
Minneapolis, MN   55408

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