We welcome composer and music educator extraordinaire, Kenley Kristofferson to the Band Room! Dylan, Cait and Kenley speak about his musical upbringing, composing for concert and video games, developing positive band culture, balance in life and much more.
This month we feature the third movement of Kenley's, Transcendent Light, performed by the Arizona State University Wind Ensemble, Choral Union and Barrett Choir, conducted by Dr. Jason Caslor with Dr. David Schildkret.
Mr. Kristofferson is a composer for concert band, concert choir, symphony orchestra and video games. Growing up as a euphonium player in Gimli, Manitoba, Canada, he later went on to complete his B. Mus and B. Ed degrees from the University of Manitoba and became one of the music teachers at Lord Selkirk Regional Comprehensive Secondary School in Selkirk, MB. In 2019, he completed his Master of Music in Composition from Brandon University, studying under Dr. T. Patrick Carrabré.
Kristofferson began composing at a young age, learning music by ear at the piano, then eventually writing for his own. Through his father's job at the Evergreen School Division, his family acquired a computer and the internet through an early-adopters' ownership program, getting them earlier than others in his neighbourhood. As a teenager, he downloaded MIDI files of TV and movie themes, as well as video games and anime, and ripped the data into a notation program so he could score study his favourite music at the time. Like his early piano playing, it wasn't long before he was using the software to write his own digital music. During his high school years, he pestered his high school music teacher for scores of their band music and, before long, began writing his own.
Mr. Kristofferson's work The Meeting Place won the 2015 Canadian Band Association Composition Competition (now the Howard Cable Prize). His music has been performed at the Midwest Band Convention in Chicago and the Manitoba Music Educators' Association Conference (TEMPO), among others. It has been recorded by the Arizona State University Wind Orchestra, Barrett Choir, and Choral Union, the University of Northern Colorado Wind Ensemble, the Cleveland Winds, the University of Manitoba Wind Ensemble, and the Winnipeg Wind Ensemble.
He has written commercial work for video game franchises such as Betty Boop, Disney’s DuckTales, KRE-O and Warhammer 40,000, though his music puts clear focus on melody and texture, resulting in an often singable theme overtop of evocative and warm harmonies. The score for his short film on the early life of astronomer Carl Sagan, Star Stuff, was nominated for Best Original Score in the “Short” category in the 2016 International Sound and Film Music Festival in Croatia.
EKR Hammell | Skyline (BRP Theme Music)
University of Toronto Wind Ensemble
Dr. Gillian MacKay - Conductor
Kenley Kristofferson | Transcendent Light, Mov. III
Arizona State University Wind Ensemble, Choral Union and Barrett Choir
Dr. Jason Caslor & Dr. David Schildkret - Directors
Kenley Kristofferson’s Website
Band Together Podcast
Canadian Winds ‘Band Together’ Article
Lighthouse Music Blog Post
Matters of Kindness by Kenley Kristofferson
Some of Kenley’s Video Game Music
Warhammer 40K - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIHxDQw7794
DuckTales - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byCFp3L9XDE