Ken Ueno

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Ken Ueno
composer, throat singer

Ken Ueno, winner of the 2006-2007 Rome Prize, is a composer and vocalist whose wide range of innovative works have been thrilling audiences around the world. Of a performance in Atlanta, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has said: "The evening was redeemed by the last work, …Blood Blossoms…, composed last year by Boston-based Ken Ueno...a young composer worth following....” The Boston Globe remarked upon the premiere of his overtone concerto with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, "He engages with multiple modes of music making: as a composer of acoustic works, as an electronic musician, and as an improviser."

Ensembles and performers who have played Ueno's music include Kim Kashkashian and Robyn Schulkowsky, Mayumi Miyata, Teodoro Anzellotti, the Nieuw Ensemble, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Frances-Marie Uitti, the American Composers Orchestra (Whitaker Reading Session), the Cassatt String Quartet, the New York New Music Ensemble, the Prism Saxophone Quartet, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the Atlas Ensemble, Relâche, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, Dogs of Desire, the Orkest de Ereprijs, and the So Percussion Ensemble. His music has been performed at such venues as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Musik Triennale Köln Festival, the Muziekgebouw, the Takefu International Music Festival, the Hopkins Center, Spoleto U.S.A., STEIM (studio for electro-instrumental music), and at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, where he was guest composer/lecturer. Ueno's piece for the Hilliard Ensemble, Shiroi Ishi, continues to be featured in their repertoire, recently being performed at Queen Elizabeth Hall in England, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and aired on Italian national radio, RAI 3. Another work, Pharmakon, was performed dozens of times nationally by eighth blackbird during their 2001-2003 seasons.

Awards and grants that Ueno has received include those from the American Academy in Rome, two commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Aaron Copland House, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music Recording, five grants from Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Belgian-American Education Foundation, Sonic Circuits X, First Prize in the 25th "Luigi Russolo" competition, and Harvard University. Recent projects include new works for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (featuring himself as vocal soloist), Flexible Music, the Pacific Rim Festival, a solo piece for Evelyn Glennie, and his second large-scale work for Kim Kashkashian and Robyn Schulkowsky. In 2008, he performed as soloist in the premieres of his concerto for overtone singer and orchestra with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project to wide acclaim in Boston and New York.

A former ski patrol and West Point cadet, Ueno holds degrees from Berklee College of Music, Boston University, the Yale School of Music, and a PhD from Harvard University. He is a co-founder/co-director of the Minimum Security Composers Collective. As a vocalist specializing in extended techniques (overtones, multiphonics, extreme extended registers, and circular breathing), he performs with the experimental improvisation group Onda and the noise/avant-rock group Blood Money.

Currently, Ueno is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor and the Director of the Electronic Music Studios at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

more

Performances

Concertos for Strings and Orchestras
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | November 14, 2008
MATA Festival
The Brooklyn Lyceum | April 1, 2008
Double Entendre: Premieres from inspired collaborations
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | March 29, 2008
Takemitsu Tribute
Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | May 27, 2005
The Next Next
Moonshine Room at Club Café | May 11, 2004
Downtown
Moonshine Room at Club Café | November 4, 2003

News and Press

[CD Review] American Record Guide reviews Ken Ueno: Talus
The first time I saw Ken Ueno was at the 2004 performance of Philip Glass's Music in 12 Parts at Alice Tully Hall; he seemed excited and intense, and also strangely disarming. His music is like that, too. We've corresponded a few times and I'm always interested in what he's doing.
American Record Guide Full review
[Press Release] BMOP/sound Releases Ken Ueno: Talus
BMOP/sound, the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, today announced the release of Ken Ueno: Talus, an imaginative collection of three innovative concerti by composer/vocalist Ken Ueno (winner of the 2006-07 Rome Prize and the 2010-11 Berlin Prize and UC Berkeley professor). Representing Ueno's debut album on BMOP/sound, Talus constitutes a kind of trilogy that contemplates mortality as well as the multifaceted ways in which survivorship requires heroism.
Full release
[Concert Review] New looks at old images
Gil Rose and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project present, more often than not, anthologized programming: one-night overviews of a single tradition, composer, or genre. Such concerts can veer toward stylistic diffusion, but Friday's collection of string-instrument concertos presented the opposite danger - a surfeit of similarity.
The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] Ueno's Memorable Talus, Boykan's Engaging Concerto, Erickson's Eclectic Fantasty, and Schwartz's Chamber Concerto
The Boston Modern Orchestra Project performed new works in Jordan Hall on Friday evening by Martin Boykan, Robert Erickson, Elliott Schwartz, and Ken Ueno. The concert closed with Shoenberg’s Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra, a very liberal arrangement of a Handel Concerto.
The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] With Orchestral Offerings, Festival Passes a Milestone
The MATA Festival is celebrating its 10th season, partly by showing off how far it has come since its early days as Music at the Anthology, a new-music series resident at the Anthology Film Archives. Since the Anthology days the festival has traveled a circuit of churches and small halls, but for the last couple of years it has been ensconced at the Brooklyn Lyceum, an old public bath converted into a concert hall.
The New York Times Full review