He has accompanied Paul Simon and Elvis Costello, Renee Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma, Brad Paisley and Emmylou Harris.

He is probably the most listened-to pianist in Minnesota, but most Minnesotans don’t know his name.

That’s because Richard Dworsky doesn’t exactly get top billing on radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” That would go, of course, to Garrison Keillor, but as the program’s musical director, Dworsky is almost as integral on every broadcast heard by 4 million listeners.

During the past 23 years, the piano man has accompanied those aforementioned famous guests and countless folk and bluegrass musicians you’ve probably never heard of.

And he doesn’t just play, he composes as well.

“My compositional duties are a little bit like Bach writing a concerto every week,” said Dworsky, who seldom writes lyrics. “I come up with little pieces that can be used throughout the show. One style of composing I do is called improvising. It’s original music and original ideas, but they’re happening spontaneously, whether it’s under a silly comedic script or under one of Garrison’s monologues.”

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