George Winston (born 1949) is an American pianist who was born in Michigan, and grew up mainly in Eastern Montana as well as Mississippi and Florida. He attended Stetson University in Deland, Florida and lives in Santa Cruz, California.
George Winston was first recorded by John Fahey for Fahey’s Takoma Records. The album Ballads and Blues disappeared without much notice, although it was later reissued on Winston’s Dancing Cat Records. However, in 1979, William Ackerman talked with Winston about having Winston record for Ackerman’s new record label, Windham Hill Records. At first Winston played some guitar pieces he liked and then he played some of his nighttime music on the piano, which became the basis for the record Autumn, which Ackerman produced. Autumn soon became the best-selling record in the Windham Hill catalog, and his albums December and Winter into Spring both went platinum (million-plus sales in the United States). He has recorded 7 more solo piano albums, and he is one of the best known performers playing contemporary instrumental music.
Winston was 16 when Charles Schulz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered in 1965, and he ran out and bought the soundtrack the next day. He eagerly awaited each new Peanuts special to hear Vince Guaraldi‘s newest music. In 1996, Winston released Linus and Lucy – The Music of Vince Guaraldi. Much of the album is devoted to the theme music Guaraldi wrote for the animated Peanuts cartoons: 15 television specials and one feature film from 1965 until Guaraldi’s death in 1976. “I love his melodies and his chord progressions,” Winston said of Guaraldi. “He has a really personal way of doing voicings.” Winston recorded a follow-up album, released in February 2010, entitled Love Will Come – The Music of Vince Guaraldi, Volume 2.