Lillette Jenkins Wisner

Queen of the Keys


Lillette Jenkins-Wisner, internationally renowned concert pianist and vocalist, began her career at the age of six in her hometown of New York City. She was initially trained as a classical musician but developed a strong interest in Gospel, Ragtime and Jazz. In addition to her musical studies from New York University, she has studied at the New York College of Music and the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J. She is the widow of former engineer and entrepreneur Elbert Wisner, and proud mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

Ms. Jenkins-Wisner performed with the Special Services Unit of the United States Army during WWII, early in her career and continues a demanding schedule of concerts, shows, round-the-world cruises and club performances. For many years she performed at Carnegie Hall in concert for the United Negro College Fund Choir. Other acclaimed performances include the Lorraine Hansberry Concert Series, European Jazz Festivals, college and university concerts, in addition to touring engagements with the Around The World Concert Cruise Series and the Floating Jazz Festival.

On stage, Ms. Jenkins-Wisner was Music Director for the Off-Broadway musical hit, "One Mo' Time" and Music Director and performer in the production, "The Life Story of Thomas A. Dorsey," the father of Black Gospel music which is considered to be one of her most honored accomplishments. Other shows include: "The Sarah Vaughn Jazz Festival, " "Sparrow in Flight" and the Crossroads Theatre production of "Eubie." In addition, she has been in several movies including "The Cotton Club" and appeared regularly as a jazz pianist on the ABC television soap opera series, "All My Children." Most recently, Ms. Jenkins-Wisner has performed numerous concerts up and down the Gulf Coast and has affiliated her music with the Jazz Club of Sarasota.

Ms. Jenkins-Wisner has worked as Minister of Music for numerous church choirs in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area, and for 25 years served as Director and organist of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Gospel Choir in Newark, New Jersey. In 1994, she was included in the Distinguished Church Musicians in The United States publication. She taught music in the New York City Public Schools for 7 years. And, for her distinguished work as a Music Therapist at various Senior Citizen Centers, Drug Abuse Centers and Prisons, she has received numerous awards honoring her contributions and commitment in the entertainment industry such as, the Essex County, New Jersey Urban League "Humanitarian Award," the Essex County Senior Citizen Award, and the coveted "Evergreen" Award as a Life-Long Artist of New Jersey. She as also received several proclamations from the City of Newark, New Jersey.

Ms. Jenkins-Wisner has several recordings to her credits including "Meditation", "Lillette Jenkins Live at Chez Josephine's", "Lillette Plays Music of Lil Armstrong", and more recently "Lillette - In Peace and Love". Her playing is extraordinary in its technical brilliance, dazzling creativity and soulful compassion. The world long ago discovered Lillette Jenkins-Wisner and new generations continue to discover her, continue to be amazed at her musical ability and continue to be inspired by her energy and love of life.

Ms. Jenkins-Wisner is truly a regal bundle of talent and is not to be missed in a lifetime. To join her in concert is a memorable experience. Who is that silver fox in the center of a crowd of admiring fans? Ladies and Gentlemen, she is Lillette Jenkins-Wisner, founder of Lillette's Foundation for the Arts.