Skip to Content

William McNally

YAPC Banner


Shortly after William McNally’s ninth birthday, he performed for the first time in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall as a winner of the AMSA World Piano Competition. He has returned often, including once in Stern Auditorium as principal bassist of the Mt. Lebanon H.S. Orchestra, and in Zankel Hall as director of opera-shorts presented by the Remarkable Theatre Brigade. He has also performed in Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, Steinway Hall, Elebash Hall, and other venues in New York.

Recently, Dream Shadows was released to high acclaim: reviews in Fanfare Magazine—two of them—called the recording “highly natural and persuasive…his prismatic range of touch and tone allows him to trace out the shifting moods of the music—from the sentimental to the nonchalant to the smashing—with unusual sensitivity…the disc is so good, from beginning to end, that it’s hard to know what to highlight…a treasure!” In 2013, Dr. McNally released a CD of works by Brahms, Reger and Busoni as part of the Victor Elmaleh Collection, which the New York Times called “exhilarating” “adventurous,” and “commanding.” 

Dr. McNally is the 2016 and 2017 champion of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest and the first three–time winner of its New Rag Contest. He now serves as their Contest Coordinator. A CD release (Chickens ‘n’ Kittens: a Ragtime Coup) follows his interest in modern and classically trained ragtime composers. He has presented papers on the transatlantic voyages of ragtime at the Society for American Music 2014 Conference At the Scott Joplin Festival in Sedalia, MO, where he serves as Director of the Ragtime Kid Program, and was also named 2019 Artist–in–Residence.

Dr. McNally’s summer festival appearances include Aspen Music Festival, Music Academy of the West, and Mannes’ International Keyboard Institute and Festival. In 2010, as a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Center, he collaborated with the Mark Morris Dance Company, coached with musicians including Emanuel Ax, Peter Serkin, Dawn Upshaw and Oliver Knussen, and his performance of George Perle’s “Concertino for Piano, Winds and Timpani” was hailed as a “powerful performance” by the New York Times. Dr. McNally’s affiliation with Pianofest in the Hamptons spanned five seasons, where he served as Dean of Students. 

An advocate for chamber music, Dr. McNally has founded and served as artistic director of two music series: Music at St. Luke’s in East Hampton, New York, and New Braunfels Chamber Music in Texas. Each season he presents a highly diverse series of five concerts, including solo piano recitals, duos, trios, and quartets, singers, and repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to Romantic Era music to Broadway to the classical avant garde.

Dr. McNally received degrees from the Mannes College of Music and Temple University, studying with Jacob Lateiner, Jerome Rose, Harvey Wedeen and Lambert Orkis. He has performed in the master classes of Sergei Babayan, Claude Frank, Paul Schenly, Peter Serkin, Arie Vardi and Earl Wild, among others. In 2015 he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree together with a Doctoral Certificate in American Studies at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center; there he studied with Ursula Oppens. His dissertation, “Ragtime Then and Now,” is being prepared for publication. He joined the faculty of Texas State University in 2016, and currently lives in New Braunfels with his wife Dasha and six–year–old son Nick, where he spends most of his “free” time cooking experiments that Dasha enjoys and Nick eyes with skepticism. For more information, please visit