Gail Quillman

Gail Quillman, 85, formerly of Clarendon Hills, passed away peacefully on Feb. 1, 2024, at Terra Vista in Oakbrook Terrace.

Gail is known for her accomplishments as a concert pianist, recording artist and piano teacher. Raised in Coal City, Gail began her music studies at the age of 4, and at age 9 began lessons with Grace Welsh at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. As a college student at the conservatory, she continued her piano studies with Welsh and studied theory and composition with Leo Sowerby.

Gail appeared frequently as a recitalist and as soloist with orchestras in the United States, Italy, Spain, Uruguay, Germany and England, and won numerous competitions and medals in those countries.

In 1984, Gail established and served as artistic/executive director of the International Grace Welsh Prize for Piano for 20 years, and in 1989 established the Leo Sowerby Foundation, served on the board of directors, and was a coordinator for JUBILEO, a worldwide festival of performances in observance of the composer's birth.

In 1994 she was the recipient of Lake View Musical Society's "Service to Music Award" in recognition of her "continuing enthusiasm, high standards and complete dedication to providing resources for the education of talented young pianists and the promotion of their careers to a professional level".

Quillman recorded three CDs of Sowerby's works: "Leo Sowerby Piano Works" (1988), "Leo Sowerby Piano Trios with the La Musica Gioiosa Trio" (1990) and "Leo Sowerby Music for Violin and Piano" (1995). Shortly thereafter, Gail started her own piano studio in Clarendon Hills where she taught hundreds of students of all levels, supported local piano competitions and continued to perform.

Upon retirement at age 77, Gail spent two years in Thailand working and living in a Buddhist temple in Wat Bolo, Nakorn Sri Bhammaraj Province. She then returned to the United States, settling in the western suburbs of Chicago, spending time with her family and friends.

She is survived by her son, Daniel (Sharon Metzger) Czerwinski; her sister, Karen Kessler; her nieces, Tashi Kessler and Mei Wah Kessler; and her nephew, Anthony Kessler.