Professor Bill Purse chaired the Music Technology program (now entitled Commercial Music, Media, and Jazz) at Duquesne University where he was instrumental in the development of two new majors: music technology and sound recording technology. He also served as Area Chair of Jazz Guitar and Electric Bass. Purse received an EduCom (Education Communication) grant for study with Dr. Carol Lennox at Mills College for multimedia development in 1990. Additionally, Purse has studied with Howard Massey at the Center for Electronic Music in New York City. He has also studied privately with Joe Negri, Vic Juris, and Pat Martino and has performed in concert with Al DiMeola, Emily Remler, Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, and other great guitar luminaries.
Purse is a composer who is nationally recognized for his major musical compositions focusing on musical themes that reflect his love of the Western Pennsylvania area. His "Kennywood's Open" is a work in this tradition and focuses on Pittsburgh's national historic landmark "Kennywood Park." He also composed "Allegheny Sketches" for guitarist Ken Karsh, Sean Jones, and the Duquesne University Wind Symphony under the direction of Robert Cameron, the Washington Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Yugo Ikach, and the North Hills Wind Symphony.
Purse received Duquesne University's 1996 President's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and a 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award for guitar pedagogy and performance including a citation for lifetime educational achievement from the Pennsylvania Senate. He is also a lifetime achievement member of the Lexington Who's Who and initiated into the Duquesne University Office of Research's Hall of Fame in 2008. Purse is the chair emeritus of the NAfME/NAMM/GAMA National Association for Music Education, National Association of Music Merchants, and Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association. The Teaching Guitar Workshops and Task Force was created to revitalize the guitar in education. Between 1995 and today, over 4,000 school music teachers across the United States and Canada have enjoyed TGW. GAMA's studies suggest that over 2 million students have learned guitar in schools because of the TGW. Purse is also the editor of the NAfME publication "Strategies for Teaching Guitar in Middle and High School."
Purse has pioneered the use of interactive digital media for his classroom and private/online teaching at Duquesne University. He has specialized in developing accelerated courses for mastering the guitar, Purse is the author of the highly acclaimed primer for Make Music's Finale software: The Finale Primer published by Alfred Music. He authored the textbook Home Recording Basics for Alfred Music. He has co-authored the highly acclaimed Sound Innovation for Guitar series Volume I & II with Aaron Stang for Alfred Music. This method is revolutionary in that they combine solid pedagogy with a focus on real-world guitar skills such as strumming and fingerpicking, pivotal rock and blues riffs, improvising, reading music, and music theory. The included recordings demonstrate every example and song in the book and were produced, recorded and mastered at Purse's Ridgewood Studio. One of his original jazz compositions, Rainforest, is featured in Mel Bay's "Master Anthology of Jazz Solos Volume Two: Featuring Solos by the World's Finest Jazz Guitarists!"
A composer for film and contemporary music, he is also an arranger and producer for radio soundtracks, audiobooks, and television. Purse has produced and released several albums of original music, including the solo CD's Sonic Art & Tribute. As producer and audio engineer for Three Oranges Recordings, Purse has recorded and produced twenty critically acclaimed albums for pianist virtuoso Barbara Nissman, several of which have GRAMMY nomination submissions for audio engineer and producer. His recent film soundtracks and video sound recording/editing/mastering include a four-hour documentary Franz Liszt: Portrait of the Man and His Masterwork the Sonata in B Minor and the documentary film The Long Journey Begins. He has produced, mixed, and mastered the Watershed CD for Lynn Emberg Purse featuring the Duquesne University Symphony virtuosic performances by Adam Liu (Cello), Sean Jones (Trumpet), Edward Kocher (Trombone), and Mike Tomaro (Tenor Sax). He engineered the audiobook Grace Under Fire by Frog and Esther Jones (2019) for SkyWarrior Books. Recently, he composed the film score and recorded the sound effects, ADR, and foley for the full-length feature film South of Hell (2020 Squishy Films) which is currently being shown at several film festivals.
Today, Purse is the CEO of Pursestring Productions and manager of Ridgewood Studios. He is busy working on new Schubert solo piano projects for Barbara Nissman and putting the finishing touches as producer, film editor, and audio engineer for a new 3-hour documentary Alberto Ginastera: A Man of Latin America for Three Oranges Recordings. He will be composing and recording a new solo CD In the Loop, developing more audiobook projects, and enjoying playing guitar, teaching private online music technology and guitar lessons, and playing chess along with enjoying a well-deserved retirement.