George Winston, Million-Selling Pianist Known for His Melodic Style, Dead at Age 73

Original Caption) Pianist George Winston performs at recent sellout concert in Symphony Hall. He confessed backstage that performing is not his first love. " Producing records is what I like to do," Winston said.

NEW YORK (AP) — George Winston, the Grammy-winning pianist who blended jazz, classical, folk and other stylings on such million-selling albums as “Autumn,” “Winter Into Spring” and “December,” has died at age 73.

According to an announcement on his website, confirmed by a spokesman, Winston died Sunday after a 10-year battle with cancer.

“Throughout his cancer treatments, George continued to write and record new music, and he stayed true to his greatest passion: performing for live audiences while raising funds for Feeding America to help fight the national hunger crisis along with donating proceeds from each of his concerts to local food banks,” a statement on his website reads.

His most recent album, “Night,” came out last year.

George Winston speaks on stage during the American Eagle Awards honoring the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum George Clinton, and, Vince Guaraldi at Music City Center on July 18, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Jason Davis/Getty Images for NAMM)

Winston was a native of Hart, Michigan, who grew up in Montana, Florida and Mississippi and drew upon influences ranging from Fats Waller to the Doors.

He released more than a dozen solo piano albums, along with soundtracks for the TV miniseries “This Is America, Charlie Brown” and “The Velveteen Rabbit,” which featured Meryl Streep’s narration of the children’s classic.

His 1995 release “Forest” won a Grammy for best New Age recording, while his Doors tribute “Night Divides the Day” received a Grammy nomination in 2004 for best contemporary instrumental album.

George Winston during George Winston and Ray Manzarek Rehearse for New York Performance of Winston’s “Night Divides the Day – The Music of The Doors” at SIR Rehearsal Studios in Hollywood, California, United States. (Michael Schwartz/WireImage)

“I came up with the melodic style that I play in 1971, and I have always called it ‘Folk Piano,’ (or more accurately ‘Rural Folk Piano’), since it is melodic and not complicated in its approach, like folk guitar picking and folk songs, and has a rural sensibility,” reads a quote from a “Q & A” section on his web site.

“I just play the songs the best I can, inspired by the seasons and the topographies and regions, and, occasionally, by sociological elements, and try to improve as a player over time.”


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