Kenneth Stewart

Composer, New Music Performer, and Educator in Durham, North Carolina

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I'm Kenneth D. Stewart (BMI). Thanks for reading. I'd say I'm a bit of a ‘renaissance man’. If I'm playing, it usually has strings. If I'm in the role of curator or composer, a background in performance becomes useful in other ways.

In a previous utterance, music assisted by physical interfaces and sound processing played heavily on my work, however once I finished school my desire to stay behind the desk dwindled. I took to acoustic genres. I'd say for a couple of years I became fascinated with the subtle differences between Jazz and Bluegrass, yet the vast differences in the harmony, sets and motifs specifically in Old-Time and New Acoustic show that what you hear is not always what you expect.

Using the instruments I play I seek to explore the roots of the music that happens around me here in Durham, NC.

The scholarly study of composition prepared me by to use the tools of a composer to develop musical ideas far beyond my own. I took to standards as experimental tools for learning how to create works with rich, melodious textures and romantic harmony.

I'd like to think that the time away from school helped me enhance my original obsession with weaving into my work an underpinning of the ambient electronic music and that of the avant-garde. Or my insistence a perversion for unusual sounds and peculiar timbres somehow coalescing into something familiar and hopeful.

While I do musical research that engages concepts of instrument modification and design and his non-compositional creative work of signal processing (linear and digital) and the hacking and modifications of electronic and acoustic musical instruments and their electronic effects, sometimes what's necessary is putting that all away and singing a simple song.

As a quasi-alumnus member of the Slippage Lab formerly at Duke University now at Northwestern, under the directorship of professor Thomas DeFrantz.

Some other things of note: I was one Gordon Epperson's final cello students. Nelvimar Neves, Nancy Green and Mark Votapek were my cello teachers at Arizona and I took masterclasses as a teenager with Brinton Averil Smith. My composition mentors are too many to mention - I dislike this part of bio writing.

I hold many degrees. A Ph.D. in Music Composition from Duke University, and additional degrees from Duke, Rice University, The University of Arizona and Pima College in Tucson, AZ.