At just 15, Bill Carrothers was performing in clubs, like the Artists' Quarter in St. Paul, and making a name for himself as a jazz pianist.
"When people heard what this young man could do, they were quite amazed that he was a high school student," says former MHS Band Teacher and 2009 Faculty Hall of Fame inductee Dan Geldert.
"It was obvious from the start that Billy possessed a talent that stood out," remembers fellow musician David Stanoch '80.
Bill's interest in music started after he met the jazz-playing pastor of his church when he was young. By the time he entered high school, Bill's talent was already turning heads, but he found a home in Minnetonka's music and theater departments. He describes it as, "an extremely safe and positive atmosphere that allowed students to experience what they wanted to pursue without fear."
He calls former Minnetonka Band Teacher Dan Geldert a "life saver," because of his dedication, commitment and influence during those formative years.
After graduating in 1982, Bill spent time in the nationally renowned music program at North Texas State University and earned his stripes by living and performing for five years in the epicenter of jazz, New York City.
In his career, Bill has been a leader on 17 recordings, all of which have received critical acclaim. He has studied with Twin Cities legend Bobby Peterson performed in venues throughout the U. S. and Europe with jazz greats Charlie Rouse, Dewey Redman and Billy Higgins. In 2000 he headlined the prestigious Rising Star Tour throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
One of his most well-known CDs, Armistice 1918 (2003), which is a musical chronology of World War I, combines his love of music with history and won the 2004 Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros, the French equivalent to a Grammy.
Today, Bill can be found touring Europe and traveling around the United States running jazz clinics and workshops. Later this month, he will begin another European tour to Ireland, Italy, Belgium and France. Beyond music, Bill's passions include baseball and snowmobiling. He and wife Peg, also a musician, live in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with their children Eddie (6) and Ellie (4 ½).