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Ken Thomson - JPop.com
Artist info
Ken Thomson

Ken Thomson

Ken Thomson


Ken Thomson, 30-year-old Brooklyn-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer, has been involved in music since he got his first xylophone at age 3. He plays saxophone and writes for the NY-based punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured internationally to eighteen countries over seven years and released 3 CDs. He is a founding board member of Anti-Social Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the work of emerging composers. Read more on Last.fm
Ken Thomson, 30-year-old Brooklyn-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer, has been involved in music since he got his first xylophone at age 3. He plays saxophone and writes for the NY-based punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured internationally to eighteen countries over seven years and released 3 CDs. He is a founding board member of Anti-Social Music, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the work of emerging composers. Ken Thomson, a staple of New York City’s contemporary music and jazz communities, is widely regarded for his ability to blend a rich variety of influences and styles into his own musical language while maintaining a voice unmistakably his own. Embracing the combination of complexity in harmony, rhythm, and form while adding a punk-rock aesthetic, Thomson stands alone in his unique corner of today’s multifaceted musical world. As a performer-composer bridging jazz and contemporary music, his latest release with his group Slow/Fast was called Settle.

It was praised by The New York Times for its “intricate long-form compositions,” and garnered a five-star review in All About Jazz. The Chicago Reader wrote, “Few musicians travel as assuredly and meaningfully between jazz and new music…. Thomson’s pieces breathe and emanate an infectious energy, with every wend and wind hurtling the music forward rather than showing off the band’s chops.” He has released a CD of his compositions for the heralded JACK Quartet, entitled Thaw, on Cantaloupe Music, which was called the #1 Classical CD of 2013 by Rhapsody.com, and was featured in NPR’s “10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing.” His most recent disc, Restless, released October 2016, focuses on two major works for cello and piano performed by Ashley Bathgate and Karl Larson, released digitally and on vinyl. It garnered a 7.9 Pitchfork review and received Top of 2016 accolades from writers Seth Colter Walls, Steve Smith (The Log Journal) and AnEarful blog, who wrote, “No album in 2016 in any genre did more with less than Restless, featuring two huge-sounding chamber works composed by Thomson. He plays clarinet for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, one of the world’s preeminent new music ensembles.

He is the musical director for the Asphalt Orchestra – a 12-piece next-generation avant-garde marching band, called “cooly brilliant, infectious… top notch players” by The New York Times. He plays saxophone and is one of the 4 composers in the punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured internationally to twenty countries and 32 states over seventeen years, and released six CDs and a DVD for Knitting Factory, Enja, NRW, Cantaloupe and Cuneiform Records. He is on faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the True/False Film Festival, Doug Perkins, Mariel Roberts, and others, and has received awards from New Music USA, ASCAP and Meet the Composer. The New York Times wrote of his work “Wait Your Turn” for the American Composers Orchestra upon its debut at Carnegie Hall: “The concert ended on a high note….

the music offered a density worthy of the closing bars of a Led Zeppelin epic;” and of his work “seasonal.disorder” for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, “a virtuoso piece.” His latest 15-minute work for chamber orchestra, “Boil,” was premiered at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival in summer 2016. As a saxophonist and clarinetist, he has performed and recorded with Ensemble Signal (conducted by Brad Lubman), working directly with composers from Steve Reich to Helmut Lachenmann and performing on CDs for Harmonia Mundi, Mode, Orange Mountain, and Cantaloupe Records. He is a frequent collaborator with many new-composed music groups including Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and more. He has also worked as a music director, notably, directing composer Julia Wolfe’s “Traveling Music” at the Bordeaux Conservatory, France, 2009, and has conducted performances of “Music for Airports” with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, choir, and guest musicians from Melbourne to Buenos Aires. He has performed extensively across the US and Europe at major jazz festivals including Jazz a Vienne, San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days and the Saalfelden, London, Copenhagen, Rotterdam and Belgrade Jazz Festivals. He has recently been the subject of profile features in Downbeat and NewMusicBox.

He is a Selmer Paris and Conn-Selmer Artist, a D’Addario Reeds artist. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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