William Kenlon, dually based in Washington D.C. and Boston, is a composer specializing in music for chamber, choral, and jazz ensembles. Described as "pointed and groovy" (New Music Box), Kenlon's music continues to garner praise for its "lyrical personality that is original and strong," and for its sophisticated tonal explorations: "solid without being dense, clear without being sparse, and ever-changing without being random" (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Enjoying performances on both coasts and on both sides of the Atlantic—most frequently in New England, but also at other locations such as Washington D.C.'s Kennedy Center—Kenlon has studied with composers from a variety of traditions and backgrounds, including John Hilliard, Jason Haney, Chuck Dotas, John McDonald, and (at present) Mark Edwards Wilson; he has also participated in lessons and masterclasses with Chen Yi, Yehudi Wyner, Daniel Asia, David Sanford, Hanspeter Kyburz, and Steve Reich, among others. Kenlon obtained a B.M. degree (magna cum laude) from James Madison University and an M.A. from Tufts University, and has also completed studies at McGill University and at the New England Conservatory. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious Flagship Fellowship to pursue doctoral studies with Mark Edwards Wilson at the University of Maryland, which will be his home through mid-2016.
Among the ensembles that have read and/or performed Kenlon's music are the James Madison University Jazz Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra (Harrisonburg, VA); the Tufts Wind Ensemble, Jazz Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra (Medford, MA); the QX Quartet (Worcester, MA); and the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble (Boston, MA). He has fulfilled commissions from NotaRiotous (resident ensemble of the Boston Microtonal Society), the JMU Treble Chamber Choir, the Tufts Chamber Singers, baritone In Dal Choi (Washington, DC), and the Six Degree Singers (Silver Spring, MD), who commercially recorded and released his Little Dream Pieces, Vol. 1.
As a performer, William Kenlon is a baritone; he divides his singing time between standard choral repertoire and brand new works for various vocal forces. In the latter category, he has performed many of his own song cycles and has also premiered works by Meng Tian, Kevin Laba, Stefan Anderson, and Sid Richardson. A recent addition to his professional engagements has been conducting his own music as well as that of his peers (and, on one occasion, that of Charles Ives). Education is also a vital part of his work as a musician; he has presented conference papers analyzing jazz improvisations, and has taught or assistant-taught university and community courses in music theory and in jazz history.