"A true and rare talent, and it showed every moment...Her caring spirit and friendly personality radiated from the stage to every individual in the packed house."
Mary Ekler is one of the most sought after Pianist/Music Directors in Los Angeles. A native of Colorado, she began her study of the piano at the age of five. Amidst her rigorous study of classical music and jazz, she also developed a love for singing and songwriting, forming her own bands for which she composed and arranged, performing in the Denver and Boulder area clubs. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree as a piano performance major at the University of Colorado, Mary submitted some of her compositions to various artists in Los Angeles and was quickly signed to her first publishing contract with Spoone Music, and soon after, was introduced to Sergio Mendes. This prompted her move to Los Angeles. After hearing Mary play and recognizing her gift as a composer, Sergio asked her to write a lyric for the song “Carnaval” which he recorded and eventually recommended her for a six month gig in Rio de Janeiro and a club gig in Geneva, Switzerland. This began her love for travel and her touring career around the globe as a pianist, music director, vocalist, and arranger.
Having moved to Los Angeles, Mary studied with the renowned composer-arranger Lyle (“Spud”) Murphy. She is a graduate of his highly regarded composition course, “ The Equal Interval System.” Her compositions have since been performed and recorded by artists such as Helen Reddy, Sergio Mendes, Glenn Yarbrough, Little Anthony and the Imperials, Deniece Williams, and Cheryl Barnes. She has composed music for the TV series Matlock, for numerous feature films, and scored the feature length documentary film The Goddess Project.
She has traveled the globe as musical director, pianist, and arranger for Grammy Award winning artists Rita Coolidge, Bette Midler, Helen Reddy, Wilson Phillips, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees Little Anthony and the Imperials, and renowned artists Stefanie Powers, Michele Lee, Glenn Yarbrough, Dee Dee Sharp, Freda Payne, Deborah Gibson, Dale Kristien, Bill Hutton, Davis Gaines, Phantom’s Leading Ladies, Katey Sagal, Martika, Lorenzo Lamas, and Bobby Womack. Mary was a featured pianist and arranger on American Idol, and can be seen performing on many PBS Doo Wop specials. She orchestrated a musical version of the film The Flunky starring Jimmy Van Patten and Deborah Gibson as well as orchestrated the musical BoomerMania!
Musical Director: Reprise Theatre Company’s Broadway Under the Stars at the Ford Theatre, A Grand Night for Singing and Nothin’ Like a Dame at The El Portal Theatre, Musical Theatre Guild's production High Spirits, Forever Plaid at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse, Santa Clarita Valley Theatre Project’s production The World Goes ‘Round, The Rose Bowl Queens both directed by Kay Cole, the first annual Hope for the Holidays at the Key Club for APLA, the 2008 S.T.A.G.E. Benefit, Blame it on Bacharach, the 2009 The Brothers Gershwin S.T.A.G.E. Benefit, the 2010 S.T.A.G.E. benefit Original Cast and the REAF Help is on the Way XIV Benefit, California State University Los Angeles (currently), and all musical productions at St. Francis High School (La Cañada, CA) since 2003.
Associate Music Director: How the Grinch Stole Christmas at the Pantages Theatre, and Reprise! productions of Company and Kismet.
At home in Los Angeles, you can find Mary performing in the Pantages Theatre orchestra, rehearsing the star-studded cast for The Hollywood Bowl summer musicals, and producing records in her studio.