Martin Kennedy

  • MARTIN KENNEDY began his formal training at Indiana University, where he received Bachelors of Music in both Composition and Piano Performance. He went on to earn a Master of Music in Composition at Indiana University and a Doctor of Musical Arts at the Juilliard School where he was a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow. His principal teachers in composition include Samuel Adler, Milton Babbitt, Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Don Freund, and Sydney Hodkinson. His principal teachers in piano include Jeremy Denk and Evelyne Brancart.

    Kennedy’s music has been performed internationally by numerous artists and ensembles, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Teatro Comunale di Bologna, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Philharmonic, Bloomington Camerata, Symphony in C, and Tuscaloosa Symphony. He is the recipient of several prestigious prizes, including the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize, the ‘2 Agosto’ International Composition Prize, a BMI Student Composer Award, five ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the Suzanne and Lee Ettleson prize, the ASCAP Raymond Hubbel Award, fellowships at the MacDowell and Yaddo Artist Colonies, an Aaron Copland Award, and two Indiana University Dean’s Prizes in Composition.

    Kennedy also remains in demand as a pianist and collaborator, appearing on concert stages worldwide and such radio programs as BBC’s In Tune and NPR’s Performance Today. He has toured with violinist Lara St. John and flutist Thomas Robertello, with whom he has both recorded with and written for. Kennedy is also committed to the performance of new works, having premiered numerous compositions as both a soloist and as a member of both the Indiana University New Music Ensemble and the New Juilliard Ensemble.

    Kennedy’s music is available on the Ancalagon, Anbardy, Azica, Centaur, and Riax labels and is published by Theodore Presser Company and G. Schirmer Inc. Previously a member of the academic faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Kennedy is currently the Director of Composition and Theory at Central Washington University.

    For more information regarding Martin Kennedy or his works, please visit his website at

  • Cover Title (Subtitle) Duration Instrumentation
    110-41762 Sonata for Piano
    30:00 Piano Unaccompanied
    Chamber Ensemble
    114-41193 A Pantry Ballet
    In Four Acts for Flute Choir (6 C Flutes, Alto Flute, and Bass Flute)
    14:00 Flute Ensemble
    17453 All Hands on Dec
    for Ten Pianos
    7:30 10Pno.
    114-41095 Concerto
    For Flute and Orchestra
    20:00 Flute with Piano
    114-41593 Desplazamiento
    For Piccolo and Piano
    8:00 Piccolo with Piano
    114-41011 Four Songs
    For Flute and Piano
    15:00 Flute with Piano
    111-40235 My Beloved Is Mine
    For Soprano and Guitar
    3:00 Voice with Instrument
    114-41527 Persistence
    For Four Trombones
    7:30 Trombone Quartet
    114-41012 Souvenir
    For Flute and Piano
    3:00 Flute with Piano
    114-41511 Suite
    For String Quartet
    15:00 String Quartet
    111-40222 The Touch of Dreams
    For Tenor, Clarinet, and Piano
    10:00 Voice with Instrument
    114-41526 Theme and Variations
    For Trombone and Piano
    9:00 Trombone with Piano
    114-41098 Trio
    For Flute, Cello, and Piano
    5:00 Flute, Cello, Piano
    16198 Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    20:00 Solo Fl.; 1 2 2 2 – 4 2 3 1; Timp. 2Perc. Hp. Str.
    17334 Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
    27:00 Solo Pno.; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3 3(Cbsn.) – 4 3 3(B.Tbn.) 1; Timp. 3Perc. Str.
    23503 Desplazamiento
    for Piccolo and Orchestra
    8:00 Solo Picc.; 2(2nd dbl. Picc.) 1 2 2(Cbsn.) – 2 0 0 0; 2Perc. Hp. Str.
    10080 Souvenir
    for Flute and String Orchestra with Harp
    3:00 Solo Fl.; Hp. Str.
    23642 Theme and Variations
    for Trombone and Orchestra
    10:00 Solo Tbn.; 2(Picc.) 2 2 2 – 4 2 2(B.Tbn.) 1; Hp. Str.
    10056 Three Pieces
    for Orchestra
    6:30 2(dbl. Picc.) 2 2 2, 1A.Sax. – 2 1 2(B.Tbn.) 1; Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.
    17454 Trivial Pursuits
    for Violin and Orchestra
    8:00 Vn. Solo; 3(Picc.) 3(E.H.) 3(B.Cl.) 3(Cbsn.) – 4 2 3(B.Tbn.) 0; Timp. 2Perc. Cel. Hp. Str.

    It is an extraordinary piece and should find a prominent place with our flute choir enthusiasts.
    –Jeanne Baxtresser,

    Despite its overall economy, the [flute concerto’s] first movement, a mystical adagio, grows progressively in size and density, a rewarding strategy of delayed gratification. . . Kennedy’s well-constructed, attractive concerto suggests that this young composer has a promising future.
    –The Advocate

    Martin Kennedy’s “Concerto for Piano and Orchestra” harkens back to the bold, sophisticated popular classical American music of the 1940s and 1950s. The piece resounded with the atmosphere of America circa 1950 — jazzy, confident, sleek and grinning.
    –Richard Comte, The Tuscaloosa News

    Martin Kennedy’s Desplazamiento is a very frenetic little work that does contain some Latin rhythms and brief references to classical and pop works.
    –Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition

    These pieces, which effectively make the flute an equivalent of the vocalist, have been beautifully constructed by someone with a musical mind of his own… Throughout, he has given both the pianist, in this case himself, and the flutist, the remarkable agile Robertello, various sorts of challenges that, nevertheless, at all times, serve the cause of music rather than mere technical exhibition. Both composition and performance impressed.
    –Peter Jacobi, Bloomington Herald

    [“Four Songs” and “Souvenir”] are sure to become staples of the flute repertoire.
    –Flute Talk

    …dense with a continuity of eloquence.
    –Pietro Misuraca, Giornale di Sicilia

    [Stephen] Gosling was even more powerful in Martin Kennedy’s extravagantly written Theme and Variations [from his Piano Sonata]. Kennedy begins with a lazy theme that quickly swells to Lisztian proportions, requiring heroic keyboard prowess. Its quiet ending, dappled with the faint sounds of an ambulance passing by outside, made Gosling’s sweat and blood feel all the more tangible.
    –Bruce Hodges, MusicWeb International

    The evening opened with the European premiere of an ambitious Sonata that the similarly-aged Martin Kennedy wrote specifically for [pianist Soheil] Nasseri. The Sonata is dense with a continuity of eloquence that flows naturally under Nasseri’s agile, sensitive, and secure fingers.
    –Pietro Misuraca, Giornale di Sicilia

    Flutist Thomas Robertello’s pairing of “Souvenir” by Martin Kennedy with the “Fantaisie” by Gabriel Fauré was heart-stoppingly beautiful. Kennedy’s sound world is so closely related to Fauré that without peeking at the program, one would think his “Souvenir” was one of the myriad lovely French salon pieces — no wild technique, just simple beauty — but with an enchanting, fresh touch… I later picked up and devoured a CD of works by both Kennedy and Fauré recorded by Robertello and Kennedy, the composer and pianist.
    –Gayle Williams, The Longboat Observer

    Both Gabriel Fauré’s “Fantasie” and Martin Kennedy’s “Souvenir” provoke precisely that sensation, contrasting the elegiac flute melody with the rhythmic pulse and color of the piano. Fauré’s distinctive French style seems to have been the model for Kennedy’s later exploration of very similar thematic material.
    –Richard Storm , Sarasota Herald-Tribune

    [“Four Songs” and “Souvenir”] are sure to become staples of the flute repertoire.
    –Flute Talk

    for Violin and Orchestra
    …a well-crafted vignette combining blues and ragtime that seemed tailor-made for St. John’s combustible style.
    –The Miami Herald

    …bluesy, bouncy, virtuosic and offbeat with interesting violin lines supported by a solid and sometimes big piano part.
    –The Daily Gazette

    …a memorable ‘six slices’ of music revolving around a major scale ground bass, with some influence of jazz and even Bartok in the harmonies, very nicely performed…
    –The Times Union

    Cleverly constructed in six sections, [“Trivial Pursuits”] starts with a walking bass in the piano and winsomely segues through contrasting sections. Drawing from jazz and blues, it uses [Lara] St. John’s considerable virtuosity wisely.
    –The Birmingham News

    …a brilliant piece with emerging echoes of jazz, set in a solid compositional framework, with the violin engaged in passages of both luminous virtuosity and evocative melodies.

  • Trivial Pursuits TRIVIAL PURSUITS
    CD Baby (5638175165); September 17, 2013
    Performer(s): Lara St. John, violin, Martin Kennedy, piano; Molly Morkoski, piano, Moravian Philharmonic, Joel Eric Suben, conductor
    Work(s): Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
    Sonata for Piano
    Trivial Pursuits
    Fleur De Lis FLEUR DE LIS
    STL Trombones (); September 4, 2013
    Performer(s): The Trombones of the Saint Louis Symphony
    Work(s): Persistence
    Timeless TIMELESS
    CD Baby (5638160818); July 30, 2013
    Performer(s): Kate Prestia-Schaub, piccolo, Martin Kennedy, piano
    Work(s): Desplazamiento
    Water Awakening WATER AWAKENING
    CD Baby (); December 22, 2011
    Performer(s): Rebecca Bower Cherian, trombone, Rodrigo Ojeda, piano
    Work(s): Theme and Variations
    Twentieth Century Works for Flute and Orchestra TWENTIETH CENTURY WORKS FOR FLUTE AND ORCHESTRA
    Centaur Records (CRC2585); November 1, 2002
    Performer(s): Katherine DeJongh, flute, Polish National Chamber Orchestra of Slupsk (Sinfonia Baltica), Bohdan Jarmolowicz, conductor
    Work(s): Souvenir
    Souvenir: Works by Fauré and Kennedy SOUVENIR: WORKS BY FAURÉ AND KENNEDY
    RIAX Records (RICA-2005); January 1, 1999
    Performer(s): Thomas Robertello, flute, Martin Kennedy, piano
    Work(s): Four Songs

  • 2014: Yaddo Residency
    2013: Suzanne and Lee Ettleson Award, First Prize
    2013: Association for the Promotion of New Music (APNM) Competition, Winner
    2012: MacDowell Fellow – Concordia Foundation Fellowship
    2012: First Prize, ‘2 Agosto’ International Composing Competition (Trivial Pursuits)
    2011: Aaron Copland Award
    2011: Missouri Music Teachers Association Composition Commission
    2010: ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize (Trivial Pursuits)
    2008: Morton Gould Young Composer Award (All Hands on Dec)
    2007: ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Honorable Mention (Suite for String Quartet)
    2002-2005: C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at the Juilliard School
    2005: ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Honorable Mention (Oranges: 4 Pastorals)
    2005: Symphony in C Composer’s Competition (Oranges: 4 Pastorals), First Prize
    2004: BMI Student Composer Award (Piano Sonata)
    2003: ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (A Pantry Ballet in Four Acts)
    2002: Indiana University Dean’s Prize in Composition (Juvenilia)
    2001: ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, Honorable Mention (Four Welsh Forms)
    2000: ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (Three Pieces for Orchestra)
    1999: ASCAP Raymond Hubbel Award
    1998: Indiana University Dean’s Prize in Composition (These Parting Gifts)
    1998: ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award (These Parting Gifts)
    1995: National Winner of the MTNA/CPP-Belwin Student Composition Competition

  • Concerto for Flute and Orchestra
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra
    Three Pieces for Orchestra
    Trivial Pursuits
    for Violin and Orchestra