Lillie Gardner is active as a solo pianist, chamber musician, and music educator throughout the United States. She has performed in the "Chopin 200" Festival at the World Financial Center and the “Tutte le Corde: Piano Music After 1950” concert series in Greenwich Village, as well as in venues such as Steinway Hall, Saklad Auditorium, Bellevue Hospital, Teatro de Casa Italiana, Southampton Cultural Center, and in chamber music concerts at Provincetown Playhouse and the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York. She has also performed in Oviedo and Gijón, Spain as a participant in the Gijón International Piano Festival, and in recitals at the Young Artist World Piano Festival in Minnesota. Particularly passionate about American music at the turn of the twentieth century, Gardner recently completed a pioneer sketch study of Aaron Copland’s Piano Variations (1930) and devoted the 2017-2018 concert season to the music of Amy Beach, whose 150th birth anniversary was in September of 2017. Her lecture recital entitled 'An Evening with Amy Beach' was broadcast in June 2018 by WWFM - The Classical Network in New Jersey. Most recently, she performed a program of underrepresented works by American composers Margaret Lang, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Aaron Copland, William Grant Still, and Florence Price.
Gardner received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from New York University as a student of Miyoko Lotto and Dr. Jose Ramon Mendez, and she holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in piano performance from the University of Connecticut where she studied with Irma Vallecillo and Dr. Angelina Gadeliya. She has played in lessons and master classes for such artists as Ilya Itin, Magdalena Stern-Baczewska, Jeffrey Swann, Mordecai Shehori, Julian Martin, Alexander Kobrin, Anton Nel, John O’Conor, and Tigran Alikhanov.
Originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota, Gardner began her piano studies with Dr. Joseph Zins of Crocus Hill Studios. There she was a finalist in the Young People's Symphony Concert Association of the Minnesota Orchestra's Concerto Competition and the Schubert Club Scholarship Competition, and received Honorable Mentions in the Thursday Musical Young Artist Scholarship Competition and the MTNA National Yamaha Awards – State Division. She was the First Place Winner of the MTNA State Division in 2006.
In addition to her musical pursuits, Gardner is an avid writer of fiction and nonfiction. She minored in Creative Writing at New York University and has taught writing workshops at the Community School of the Arts and the Bridge Family Center in Connecticut. Her work has been published in The Slag Review and the Long River Review, and her piece "Schofield Road" won Third Place in The Writers' Workshop of Asheville's 2016 Memoirs Contest. Fascinated by the relationship between words and music, she recently curated "American Literature in Recital,” a concert of solo and collaborative works by American composers inspired by the words of American writers.
Gardner is especially passionate about teaching, and she is on the piano faculty of St. Joseph’s School of Music and maintains her private teaching studio, Gardner Piano Studio, in St. Paul, Minnesota.