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Kenji Bunch

Portland, OR      

Kenji Bunch is regarded as one of the most engaging, influential, and prolific American composers of his generation. Hailed by the New York Times as “A Composer To Watch” and cited by Alex Ross in his seminal book “The Rest Is Noise,” Mr. Bunch’s unique blend of wit, exuberance, lyricism, unpredictable stylistic infusions, and exquisite craftsmanship has brought acclaim from audiences, performers, and critics alike.


            Mr. Bunch’s symphonic music has been performed by over fifty American orchestras, and his genre-defying chamber works have been heard in premiere venues on six continents. His music is regularly broadcast on national radio, including NPR, BBC, and NHK, and has been recorded on labels including DELOS, Sony/BMG, EMI Classics, Koch, Kleos Classics, RCA, Naxos, Pony Canyon, GENUIN, Capstone, MSR Classics, Innova, ARS, and Crystal.


            As a composer, his residencies include Mobile Symphony (Meet The Composer Music Alive), Spoleto USA, Bravo! Vail, Sound Encounters, the Chintimini Chamber Music Festival, and the Craftsbury Chamber Players. He also served for two years as the composer in residence for Young Concert Artists, Inc. His collaborations with renowned choreographers David Parsons, Nai-Ni Chen, Kate Skarpetowska, and Darrell Grand Moultrie have received great acclaim.


            Concerts devoted to his music have been given recently at the Stamford Music Festival in England, the Oranjewoud Festival in The Netherlands, and at the Perpignan Conservatory in the south of France, in addition to those in New York City, Denver, Nashville, Portland, and Boston. Recent highlights include the world premiere of his Piano Concerto (2010), with pianist Monica Ohuchi and the Colorado Symphony. In October, 2011, he appeared as the soloist with the American Composers Orchestra in the premiere of his viola concerto The Devil’s Box, in Carnegie Hall. In 2012, electric violin virtuoso Tracy Silverman premiered Embrace, his theatrical “flash mob” concerto, with eight consortium orchestras around the country. That same year, the Alias Chamber Ensemble released “Boiling Point,” a CD of Mr. Bunch’s chamber works on the DELOS label.


            Mr. Bunch maintains an active performing career, and is widely recognized for performing his own groundbreaking works for viola. A founding member of the Flux Quartet (1996-2002) and Ne(x)tworks (2003-2011), Mr. Bunch is a veteran of the New York new music world. A multifaceted musician with a deep interest in vernacular American music and improvisation, he also plays fiddle and sings with the band Citigrass, and is a frequent guest performer, recording artist, and arranger with many prominent rock, jazz, folk, and alternative/experimental artists. In the spring of 2011, he released a solo debut recording of his complete works for solo viola on Bulging Disc Records.


          Mr. Bunch studied at the Juilliard School, receiving his Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in viola with Toby Appel, and in composition with Robert Beaser. Other composing mentors include Eric Ewazen and Stanley Wolfe. After 22 successful years in New York City, he returned to his native Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his wife, concert pianist Monica Ohuchi, daughter Emmaline, and rescued pitbull mix, Coffee. 

Supermaximum for Orchestra

A live video recording of the premiere of “Spermaximum” for orchestra, from November, 2013. This 10 minute work draws inspiration from the tradition of Southern prison songs from the Depression era.

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NewMusicBox Articles

Headlines March 13 2002 | By Kenji Bunch
On Being a YCA Composer-In-Residence

Becoming involved with YCA was a springboard to a much larger sphere of people, both musicians and listeners who discovered that I was writing music.