Bill Shull, M.Mus., Registered Piano Technician, has operated a full-time piano service business in the Inland Empire since 1979. He trained under Loveland Cota, Ed Seymour and Terry Banister (respectively), completing his mentor training in the shop of Terry Banister in 1981. He is committed to continuing education, having attended 13 Annual PTG Conventions beginning in 1986, and two dozen regional conferences. He has attended week-long training sessions with Yamaha (Little Red School House - 1994), Steinway (1992, 2001) and Baldwin (Aspen Festival, 1982) . He began attending Piano Technicians Guild local chapter meetings in 1975, with fine instructors such as LaRoy Edwards, George Defebaugh, Norm Neblett, Jim Harvey, and many others. He has, himself, taught at many conventions and all-day seminars. He has serviced pianos for the music departments of CSU San Bernardino (1989-1992), La Sierra University (1986 to the present), and the University of Redlands (1984-2001). While technician for the Redlands Symphony Orchestra, the Redlands Bowl Summer Festival (1986 to the present) and other local orchestras he has serviced pianos for Jose Feghali, Daniel Pollack, the late John Browning, Frederick Moyer, Stephen Hough, Stephen Prutsmann, Leon Bates, and many others. As a pianist (he studied under Johana Harris in the early 1970s) and singer (having received his M.Mus. in Vocal Performance in 2001), he has an understanding of the varied performance needs of the piano.
Below is a more detailed biography:
Bill Shull first began working in a piano shop at the age of 15. With the encouragement of piano tuner Loveland Cota, who also was Bill’s first voice teacher from age 13 to age 17, he purchased and restrung a 5’9” Kurtzmann grand piano while a high school sophomore, and also learned the rudiments of tuning and action regulation.
While in college Bill worked as often as possible in the piano rebuilding shop of Ed Seymour, the premier rebuilder in Riverside at the time, and a longtime member of the Pomona Valley Chapter.
In 1980 Bill began and completed an apprenticeship with Terry Banister, also an established rebuilder and Registered Piano Technician in the Pomona Valley Chapter. Bill then established his piano service business in the East Inland Empire region of Southern California and has been working full-time in piano service since 1980.
Bill joined the Piano Technicians Guild in 1983, becoming a Registered Tuner-Technician (RTT) in 1984 (now RPT). He has served the Piano Technicians Guild in various capacities.
Bill completed a Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance in 2001 at the University of Redlands, and has performed as a baritone soloist in many concerts, oratorios and programs. He is former Director of Music (organist/pianist/choir director) at the West Covina United Methodist Church, and more recently (2003-06) served as the Director of Music at the First Lutheran Church in Redlands, CA. In 1998 Bill founded the Loma Linda Chamber Singers, a 12 to 16 member choral ensemble, which performed seasonally for nearly a decade.
Bill has three grown children, who each have followed his artistic direction in their own ways. Johana is an accomplished flutist in Salem, Oregon, and runs a music teaching business for children, “Let It Shine”; Both Jonathan and Christopher (Colin) were political science students. Jonathan lives in Loma Linda, CA. He has completed a Master’s Degree at CSU San Bernardino and was active in the university forensics debate club, and has begun to study piano service. Christopher (Colin) and his wife Lizelle live in Los Angeles. He is a graduate of UC Riverside, and has served as campus chapter president of Amnesty International.
Bill has a passion for the historical piano, and is President of the Period Piano Center. He has taught PTG programs on the history of the pianoforte, the Erard piano in the 19th century, the Steinway Upright, and most recently and actively, the transitional Steinway grand (1853-1892). A recent article on restorative conservation was published in Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyers Guide, www.pianobuyer.com/fall10/67.html
He is writing the first comprehensive history of the Steinway piano, which include a technical anthology of all early Steinways, based on many years of forensic documentation of Steinway pianos. He has begun to research and document the Chickering piano with the same objective. He has founded The Period Piano Center, which will provide housing, conservation, maintenance, performance, study and teaching opportunities for and on the instruments being collected.
He has presented his study of serial number books to the American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS) in 2011 in a paper entitled “The Serial Number Registries of the Leading American Manufacturers.” He has reviewed recent publications for the Piano Technicians Journal and the AMIS Newsletter.
Bill has served in several capacities in his trade organization, the Piano Technicians Guild. Currently president of the Pomona Valley Chapter, he is also a College and University Technicians Committee member, and has co-chaired several times since 2002. He served as the Western Regional Vice-President from 2007-2009, and has served in various capacities in the PTG Foundation, several terms as a member of the Board of Directors, currently a Director Emeritus and active member of several committees.