The BEPA support committee comprises many prominent musicians, journalists, club owners, festival organizers, etc. for the most part hailing from the world of jazz and who were particularly enthusiastic to play a role in sponsoring the creation of the school.
Pascal Anquetil – Paul Benkimoun – Warren Bernhardt – Ray Bryant – Philippe Carles – Claude Carrière – René Caumer -Vladimir Cosma – Maurice Cullaz – Bill Dobbins – Francis Dreyfus – Alex Dutilh – Henri Dutilleux – Clare Fischer -André Francis – Herbie Hancock – Win Hinkle – Marc Johnson – Chuck Israël – Michel Legrand – Mark Levine – JohnLewis – Dave Liebman – Mulgrew Miller – Marian McPartland – Brad Mehldau – Francis Paudras – Danilo Perez – MichelPetrucciani – Enrico Pieranunzi – Bernard Rabaud – Henri Renaud – George Russell – Martial Solal – Félix Sportis – Jacky Terrasson – Arcadi Volodos – Kenny Werner…
This non-exhaustive list of honorable members notably includes several prestigious classical musicians such as the composer Henri Dutilleux and the great virtuoso pianist, Arcadi Volodos; a fact that further illustrates the unifying impact of the name and the music of Bill Evans. In their lifetime, Clare Fisher and Ray Bryant regularly demonstrated their support for the school by giving Master Classes, seminars and conferences, as have other members of honor, such Mark Levine, Kenny Werner and Enrico Pieranunzi. Some excerpts from the many letters of encouragement the school has received are cited below:
“With your expertise and experience I am sure that will be a great institution. I am also thrilled that the name is dedicated to one of the all time great musicians of the twentieth century, Bill Evans. It will be an honour and privilege to offer my services. All the best of luck. Sincerely.” David Liebman
“I wish you grand success with your new Bill Evans Academy. I’m sure it will be a tremendous success. Best Wishes.” Mark Levine
“I would be happy to help as an adviser or teacher. I would like to help implement my focus and relaxation techniques as I think they would be revolutionary curriculum for a school. Regards.” Kenny Werner
“I would be very pleased to be an honorary board member of the Bill Evans Piano Academy. I really appreciate your asking me. I certainly would like to help support such a fine project, I’m sure it will be a tremendous success ! With best wishes, Sincerely.” Marian McPartland
Co-chairmen of honor of the Bill Evans Piano Academy
Bill’s widow, Nenette Evans is the administrator of the Bill Evans Estate, the organization which manages the legal production and distribution rights of Bill’s works.
Bill and Nanette’s only son, Evan Evans graduated from the UCLA, Los Angles (majoring in twentieth century harmony and film scoring) and followed Bernard Maury’s harmony classes at the BEPA in 1998.
Maxine, Nenette’s daughter from a prior marriage, always looked upon Bill as a father figure.
When the school was created, Evan Evans sent the following letter to Bernard Maury:
“Dear Bernard, my mother, sister and myself are very enthusiastic about the creation of the Bill Evans Piano Academy, and believe that you are the person the most qualified to organize such a school. Thanks and good luck.” Evan Evans