John Kenny was born in 1957 in Birmingham. Internationally recognised for his interpretation of contemporary music, he also performs jazz and early music. As a composer, he is particularly active in collaborations with dance and theatre, and this love of theatre is often an important feature of his recital output. His past commissions have included the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the International Trombone Association, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust, Chamber Group of Scotland, Dance Umbrella, American Drama Group Europe, The New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas (USA) and the Festival d’ Angers, France.
Commissions in 2005 included a sonata for contra-bass trombone, premiered at the Glasgow Brass explosion Festival by the American virtuoso David Bobroff; HeadSpace for trumpet, trombone, sound designer, and the new Head=Space device for quadriplegic musician Clarence Adoo, designed by Rolf Gehlhaar, premiered at the St. Magnus Festival on Orkney. In autumn 2005, Kenny collaborated with Welsh Artist Sean Harris to create an animated film, Hela’r Twyrch Trwyth, and and recorded a CD of music and poetry, with the American poet Grantly Marshall. In December Kenny acted as narrator in the premier of hisown dramatic setting of the Book of Revelation in modern German translation, Das A und Das O for trombone, organ, and narrator, at the Landshut Festival, Germany.
Projects in 2006 have included a cantata for solo trombone and choir, Nocturne, for the Norwegian chamber choir Vokal Nord, and music for TNT Theatre Co.’s new production of Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew, which opened at Raffles Theatre Singapore in May, and will tour the Asia and Europe from until December. In August Kenny will compose a piece for carnyx with five fujara (two metre long Slovenian folk flutes) for the Banska Festival, Slovakia.
After studying with Harold Nash at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and then on an Arts Council bursary with James Fulkerson, Kenny worked as an actor/musician with the Bubble Theatre in London, then made his debut as a soloist in the Purcell Room in 1982. In 1983 he was a prize-winner at the Gaudeamus International Competition in Holland, and has since given recitals and broadcast world-wide, both as a soloist and with ensembles including Ensemble Modern of Frankfurt and Ensemble Alternance of Paris, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Paragon Ensemble, and the National Orchestras of Romania and Moldova, and the Sofia Philharmonic. In 1984 he was a founder member of the TNT Music Theatre Company, collaborating with playwright Paul Stebbings in productions which continue to tour hundreds of venues throughout Europe, Russia and Japan, and Korea.
In 1993 John Kenny was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music, and is currently a professor at both the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he specialises in the interpretation of contemporary music and The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he concentrates on sackbut and the interpretation of early music.
In 1992 John Kenny was invited to join a team of specialists at the National Museum of Scotland committed to reconstruct the Deskford Carnyx. Discovered in Northeast Scotland, this is the finest example so far discovered of an Iron Age Celtic war horn which was the most splendid and powerful wind instrument of the ancient world. In 1993 he became the first person to play the carnyx for 2000 years, and has since lectured and performed on the instrument internationally, in the concert hall, and on radio, television, and film. There are now numerous compositions for the carnyx, and it features on seven CD’s, and on March 15 2003 he performed solo to an audience of 65000 in the Stade De France, Paris. John Kenny lives in Edinburgh with his wife and two sons.
EVENTS in 2007
with John Kenny