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Jeff Kowalkowski

Chicago, IL      

Jeffrey Kowalkowski (1967-) is a composer who has focused primarily on collaborative forms of composition for the past several years. He was Artistic Director of the Milkwood Foundation, a not-for-profit (501c3) sound art production company, which he co-founded (1998-2012).  In 2009 he co-founded the Chicago Scratch Orchestra, and currently he is in articularfacet.

His opera collaboration "Bosch tapped the gas pedal and the caprice moved forward" was premiered in Hamburg in 1996, with composer Marko Ciciliani, with album release by No Harm Done Digital Media and Publishing, New York, 2000. 


With Marquette Michigan percussionist, Carrie Biolo, he toured and released three CDs under the name Jack the Dog (Uvullittle Records, Madison, WI).

His music has been performed by ensembles in the U.S. and Western Europe: Chicago Scratch Orchestra, Prop Theater Group (Chicago); Ensemble Modern (Cologne); Interzone Perceptible (Essen); Het Trio and ASKO Ensemble (Amsterdam), Ensemble Integrales (Hamburg). His radio works have been broadcast in Ireland (A.A.R.T.), Canada (Boreal), Berlin (Sender Freies), and the U.K. (BBC 3). He has been invited to the Center Acanthes in Avignon, France; June in Buffalo; the Gaudeamus and Darmstadt Festivals; and received a commission from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a sound installation and CD.

Jeff has also completed a sound installation for the Chicago Park District/Experimental Sound Studio’s Floresonic Series at the Lincoln Park Conservatory (Fern Room).  His most recent installation "Holly" was chosen for the DePaul Art Museum’s faculty show, summer 2013.

In 2011 Jeff was the recipient of a Helen and Tim Meier Foundation for the Arts Award of Artistic Achievement, which recognizes artists with over twenty years of innovation in their discipline.

As a keyboardist, Jeff has recorded and toured with Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra, and currently leads the Jeff Kowalkowski Trio (Harrison Bankhead, bass and Avreeayl Ra, drums).  He also is a member of the Lucky Bikes, and Coalesce Duo (with violinist Elise Dalleska).

Jeff is a dedicated and passionate teacher.  He has taught at DePaul University School of Music since 1996, and in the Department of Music at Northeastern Illinois University since 2002.  He teaches general music classes, on-line classes, music theory at all levels, orchestration, form and analysis, composition and sound art and piano.  He teaches theory, composition and improvisation at the Chicago Piano Festival at NEIU.  He also has a roster of highly motivated private students at his home, and a studio at the House of Music, Orland Hills, Illinois.  This neighborhood music school was opened by Jeff’s former students Joey Derus and Tony Tabor.

Jeff has also been a guest composer and lecturer at Oberlin Conservatory, and the School of the Art Institute.   He has received several Illinois Arts Council Arts-in-Education grants.  He received a Met-Life Meet the Composer Grant for the composition of a double percussion concerto, which was premiered by the Marquette Symphony in 2009.  Jeff has also composed, performed, and toured with the Chicago art collective Lucky Pierre since 1998, and co-organized the New Music at the Green Mill concert series since 1991.

Recently he has completed two film scores of original music: Mark Siska’s Compass Cabaret 55, a documentary about the pioneering comedy troup from the late 1950s in Hyde Park, Chicago.  Also, Patrick Meegan’s Cinewava which is a short virtual reality/interactive play.  He is currently composing new music for Prop Theater’s 2016 production of Brecht’s "Mother Courage."

A full catalogue of Compositions by Jeff Kowalkowski  (including 45 original scores), discography, and complete CV are available upon request.