William Kinderman was born in 1952 in Philadelphia, USA. Following undergraduate work at Dickinson College, he studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and music at Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his PhD in 1980. The most notable of his piano teachers was Dieter Weber at the Hochschule für Musik, Vienna. Kinderman has received awards from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. During 1986/87 he was in residence at the Beethoven-Haus Bonn. He is currently Professor of Music, University of Victoria, and taught as guest professor during 1993/94 at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. Kinderman is currently DAAD guest professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich. His recent and ongoing scholarly lectures include appearances at King's College London, the Humboldt University in Berlin, and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.
Alfred Brendel has described Kinderman as ‘a very rare bird’ on account of his ability to combine performance and scholarship. To German critic Gerd Kowa, Kinderman is ‘a herald of Beethoven research and interpretation . . . a sovereign artist’. Edward Rothstein, commenting on the Beethoven Workshop Kinderman held with Brendel at Carnegie Hall in 1993, wrote in The New York Times of his ‘impressive bursts of intellectual energy and distinctive insight’. Kinderman has given numerous piano and lecture recitals in the USA, Canada, Japan and Europe, and is also known for his writings on music, including five books on Beethoven: Beethoven's Diabelli Variations (1987; reprinted 2008), Beethoven's Compositional Process (1991), the comprehensive study Beethoven (1995, expanded edition 2008), Artaria 195: Beethoven's Sketchbook for the 'Missa solemnis' and the Piano Sonata in E Major, Opus 109 (2003), and The String Quartets of Beethoven (2006). Kinderman is currently working on a book tentatively entitled Beethoven's Creativity.