Dr. Edward Joseph Kaizer, age 84 passed away Friday, April 9, 2021 in Libertyville, IL from a massive heart attack. Ed was born March 18, 1937 in Cramer PA, son of Peter and Mary (Raymond) Kaizer. Beloved father, he is survived by his children Edward (Lynn) Kaizer of Ames, IA; Claire (Doug) Kasamis of Mundelein, IL; Laraine (Alexander) Kaizer-Viazovtsev of Finland; and Joseph Kaizer of Salem, NC; and six grandchildren: Alex Kaizer, Drew (Caitlyn) Kaizer, Nick Kaizer, Jackson Kasamis, Lexi Kasamis and Ella Kasamis. He was preceded in death by his wife of 45 years Janet L. Kaizer (Cook), in addition to his parents, his sisters Jean Piorkowski (Kaizer) and Joanne Kaizer, and his son John Kaizer.
Dr. Kaizer was head of the piano department 1970-2016 at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. He also served on the piano faculty at Saint Norbert College in DePere, WI.
Edward Kaizer holds his Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, where he studied with Sidney Foster. He completed his Undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Duquesne University where he received a scholarship performing with the D.U. Tamburitzans, and was a celebrated pitcher on the school team. In fact, he was offered a pitching contract with a major baseball team which he turned down.
Dr. Kaizer was a guest soloist with the Chicago Symphony in 1972, performed countless solo and duo recitals with his wife Janet in cities throughout the United States, Mexico, and Europe, Eastern Europe including: London, Prague, Washington DC, Friedrichshafen, Stockholm, Nurnberg, Copenhagen, Berlin, and Trieste Italy.
Ed and Janet gained a large following of their unique duets combing their extraordinary talents to offer a unique program of classics to jazz in one performance. They created a variety of original arrangements for four-hands at one piano using improvising and using different styles including classical, boogie-woogie, bebop improvisation, and ragtime. They each won the title of “World Champion Old-Time Piano Player,” 1984/1985.
During his tenure at Bradley University, Dr. Kaizer had been a very visible and active musician in central Illinois. Always accompanied by either his wife Janet or son Ed Kaizer Jr. on bass, he presented a long running radio show called "Live from the Hilltop" on Bradley University’s public radio station, WCBU, FM 90, and recorded several episodes of the locally broadcast jazz concert series “State and Water” on WTVP (PBS) channel 47. He was a permanent fixture for many years entertaining patrons with his versatile piano music at the Weaver Ridge Golf Course’s Sunday brunches and more recently at the Rhythm Kitchen.
In addition to music, family and fishing, Ed was an avid golfer who enjoyed participating in several tournaments in Illinois and Iowa with his son Ed Jr. and grandson Nick.
He loved his family, loved his music, and loved his life! He had boundless faith in each and every one of his family members and students. He would have done anything for us and we will forever be grateful!
In lieu of flowers contributions of any size are appreciated to build a scholarship in Ed’s name to help music majors whose emphasis is piano at Bradley University.