Deanna Witkowski on Her New Book, Mary Lou Williams: Music for The Soul

For the first time in over a year and a half, the Music at Pitt Podcast is coming to you not from host Philip Thompson’s home studio but from the Music Building on the Pitt Campus. Our guest for this episode is Deanna Witkowski and we are having this conversation in person, fully vaxxed (but still masked and socially distanced in compliance with Pitt’s Covid mitigation strategies) and we have so much to talk about!

Deanna is a PhD student in Jazz Studies and we’re speaking with her today about quite a remarkable achievement: the release of her biography of Mary Lou Williams titled Mary Lou Williams: Music for The Soul and her recording of an all-Mary Lou Williams album, Force of Nature. The book will be published on September 15 and book launch party will take place on September 16th at Con Alma in Downtown Pittsburgh. The two projects cap a twenty-year deep dive into the ground-breaking impact of Williams’ life and music, making Witkowski one of the few living authorities on the iconic pianist. As a sought-after Williams expert, she has presented at the Kennedy Center, Duke University, Fordham University, and performed Williams’ compositions as a featured guest with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. 

Find out more about Deanna's music and scholarship at