Billie Howard is a pianist, violinist, violist, and music educator. She performs & records regularly as Akosuen and released two duet albums (with Rebecca Himelstein and Cinchel) in 2018. She was the founding violinist of the experimental improvisation group NbN Trio, post-rock band The Paver, contemporary music collective a.pe.ri.od.ic, and Hyalite String Quartet. She also plays keyboards and violin with the legendary Bobby Conn.
Billie Howard is a Montana-born, Chicago-based pianist, violinist, violist, and educator. As a performer, she is inspired by contemporary and experimental music on the farthest ends of the volume spectrum, ranging from the quietest sounds to fully-amplified extremes. She also composes under the moniker Akosuen, which ranges from a solo endeavor to a 6-piece band with chorus. Akosuen recently scored the short film, Olion, which premiered at the 2017 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival. Billie maintains a private violin and piano studio in Logan Square, teaches violin classes at The People’s Music School and directs the annual Pop Music for Piano Camp for middle-school age pianists.
Performance highlights include the Oscillations Series at Experimental Sound Studio, Resonance Series at the Hideout, Museum of Contemporary Art with a.pe.ri.od.ic and Bobby Conn, Bohemian National Cemetery with Wrekmeister Harmonies, classical performances at Constellation, Ganz Hall, Pick-Staiger Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, and US tours with the Paver.
In demand as a freelance violinist and pianist, she has performed with musicians of all genres including Bobby Conn, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Noname, Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, Wrekmeister Harmonies, Minor Characters, Very Truly Yours, The Rutabega, Mucca Pazza, Classical Revolution, and she was the founding first violinist of the Hyalite String Quartet. An active session musician, she has been featured on studio recordings by American Idol winner Lee DeWyze, Grammy-nominated children’s artist Justin Roberts as well as many other recording artists.
In addition to her music, she has served as artistic director for the arts incubator High Concept Labs and manager of external relations for the arts nonprofit Homeroom.
She holds a M.Mus. in piano performance and pedagogy from Northwestern University and B.A. in piano and violin performance from Montana State University.
On the Record (NbN Trio) National Sawdust
Players 2019: The Fifty People Who Really Perform for Chicago NewCity Stage Chicago
Avant Music News Best of 2018 Avant Music News
Billie Howard’s Musical Experiment Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Theatre Oobleck invites you to enter a real hall of horrors Chicago Reader
In Rotation, November 2016 Chicago Reader
Our Favorite Music of 2014 Chicago Reader
Top 25 Classical Albums of 2014 Napster
Best New Music Albums 2014 The Big City
Best of 2013 Collapse Board