Jazz Studies Instructor
Dean Lea is a well known and accomplished pianist and keyboardist in the Milwaukee area. He is the recipient of the 2003 Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) award as instrumentalist-keyboardist of the year, and also shared in the 2004 WAMI Paul Spencer Band award. Lea has enjoyed a varied career having been artist in residence pianist and music director for public radio’s Hotel Milwaukee for more than seven years; he was pianist in the musical, “Jazz,” house pianist for the Heidel House and the Hyatt Regency Hotel, and he has played at many area hotels including the Wyndham, Pfister, Sheraton, Embassy Suites and the Hilton. A respected musician, Lea has accompanied many Hollywood stars including Hildegard and Dinah Shore and Doc Severinsen. He has also played with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra and with jazz artists Richie Cole, Frank Morgan, Berkeley Fudge. Lea began studying piano at the age of four with the late Emily Herrwig at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. At six he studied classical piano at the Conservatory with the late Adelaide Banaszynski and continued with her until he was 18, winning numerous awards for his accomplishments from the Conservatory, Music Teachers’ Associations and city competitions. He also studied with the late jazz artist Tony King and with the late piano great Will Green. He graduated from University School of Milwaukee and attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University.