JOHN KILKENNY, PERCUSSION
Each week, the staff at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival will endeavor to introduce what really makes the SSMF so unique and special: the faculty. A feature piece will be written on a faculty member giving all students a chance to get to know the artists they will be studying with this upcoming summer. Some of the most amazing and professional musicians in the world call Sewanee their home during the summer and these gifted musicians really make a difference in their student’s lives.
The fourth faculty member we would like to introduce is John Kilkenny, Percussion.
Click here to work with our distinguished faculty member!
Why is the Sewanee Summer Music Festival special to you?
” Music as been the one constant in my life, no matter what is going on, how busy I am, or how hard I am working, it’s ok, because I’m doing what I love to do! The Sewanee Music Festival is a special place, a chance to learn and grow as a musician, try new things artistically, and make positive connections in the music world that will last a lifetime. The peaceful, idyllic environment offers a chance to reconnect with nature, the environment and your art in a way not possible in other place”
What are some events that you are participating in when you are not on the Mountain?
I’ll be giving master classes in Texas, New Mexico and North Carolina this year ( UT El Paso, University of North Carolina Greensboro, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and New Mexico State university) I’ll be performing with the Washington National Opera, National Gallery New Music Ensemble, National Cathedral, appearing in recitals in Baltimore, Washington DC and Boston, and traveling to make the world premiere of “Song of the Shulimite” a new work for choir, harp, soprano and percussion that I commissioned. This is all in addition to my regular duties as director of percussion at George Mason University, where our percussion ensemble will be performing our typical four concerts a year of new percussion works, classics from the cannon, and musics of the world.
John Kilkenny is currently Director of Percussion Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. He enjoys a multi faceted career that includes orchestral performances with the National Symphony, Washington National Opera and Ballet, Washington Concert Opera, Cathedral Choral Society, Washington Chorus, Choral Arts Society, the Master Choral of Washington,and virtually every other Washington DC area performing arts organization. Chamber music appearances include collaborations with flautist Karen Johnson, pianist Carlos Rodriguez, the Folger Consort, Verge Ensemble,Talujon Percussion, Chris Deviney, John Tafoya, Robert Van Sice, Gregory Zuber, and She e Wu. Michael Daugherty’s UFO Percussion Concerto, and the Washington DC area premiere of the Philip Glass Concerto Fantasy for two Timpanists and Wind Symphony are included in his highlights of his recent concerto appearances.
John appeared as the solo percussionist for a 2008 award winning production of Macbeth at the Folger Shakespeare Theater and completed writing the solo percussion music for Don McCullough’s choral work – Let my People Go, a Musical Journey through the Underground Railroad, which premiered in April 2008at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He has been a part of several recent and upcoming commissions, including works from Peter Erskine, Jonathan Newman, Jesse Gessford, Dennis Hoffmann, Peter Klatzow, and Alejandro Vinao and Don McCullough.
John was an Artist in Residence for the Indiana University Summer Percussion Workshop/Academy from 2007-2010. From 2005-2007 John was the coordinator of the University of Maryland Summer Percussion Workshop. Sought after as a clinician and guest conductor, he has appeared at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, Juilliard Summer Percussion Academy ( summer 2011), John Philip Sousa FoundationNational High School Honor Band, the Music for All Summer Symposium, Western International Band Conference, The Virginia Music Educators Conference, and at several universities throughout the country. John Kilkenny is Yamaha Performing Artist and proud sponsor of Vic Firth mallets, Remo drumheads and Sabian cymbals.
John received his Bachelor’s degree from the Juilliard School and a Master’s degree from Temple University. His primary instructors include Jonathan Haas, Gregory Zuber and Alan Abel.