John M. Kennedy

College of Arts and Letters
Department of Music, Theatre and Dance
Office Location: MUS 236
Phone: 323/343-4084 Email:

Recent Career Highlights

Beijing Performance

ASCAP Standard Panel Awards, 2015, annual since 1991;
Performance of "From the Ground Up" for orchestra by the Holy Names University Orchestra, Dr. Steven Hofer, conductor.
Recent International Events
Lecture-Recital on American Music, Performance of George Crumb's "Mundus Canis" with Satik Andriassain, guitar, The Beijing American Center, US Embassy, Beijing, China, September, 2015;
Lecture on Original Compositions, Hong Kong International Music Festival, Hong Kong, China, August, 2015;

Honor Consultant, the Hong Kong Second International Music Festival and Competition, Hong Kong, China, August, 2015;

Master Teacher and Artist Roster, the VFIMF Malta International Music Festival and Competition, July, 2015, annual since 2012;

Panelist, World Saxophone Congress, Strasbourg, France, July, 2015.


          American composer John M. Kennedy produces an eclectic group of work, ranging from mixed ensemble and solo pieces to multi-media compositions. In January, 2014 he collaborated with director Tanya Kane-Parry on the premiere of an original musical adaptation of Jean Paul Sartre’s “The Wall” in Los Angeles.  Upcoming premieres include a collaboration with bass-baritone Nicholas Isherwood and video artist E. Martin Gimenez.  Since 2012, his premieres include “Lamentations: Hayasdan” by the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble; “Opaque Silence-Flash: Symbia III” in Malta; performances of his “Smoke and Mirrors: Symbia II” at the 2012 World Saxophone Congress, St. Andrews, Scotland and the 2013 Thailand International Composition Festival in Bangkok; and the premiere of “Yer“ at the Manoel Theater, Malta. His commissions include the Olympia Youth Orchestra, the Baldwin-Wallace College Wind Ensemble and the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra. Kennedy’s work has been featured in performances worldwide including his orchestral work “Portrait...” during the 1989 Salzburg Festival at the Mozarteum, and new music festivals in Bangkok, Thailand, Kwang-ju and Daegu, Korea.

          Early recognition for his work includes the Charles Ives Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a Young Composer Award from ASCAP. At the University of Michigan, Kennedy studied with Leslie Bassett, William Albright, Fred Lerdahl and Eugene Kurtz, receiving his MM and A.Mus.D in Music Composition. His work receives continuing recognition with grants from Meet the Composer, Inc. (now New Music USA), annual Standard Panel Awards from ASCAP since 1991 and Subito grants from the American Composers Forum, Los Angeles. He is professor of music composition and serves as Special Assistant to the Dean, College of Arts and Letters, at California State University, Los Angeles, where he received an Outstanding Professor Award for 2013. For more information on Kennedy’s music:

Video of my good friend William Street perfomring my Smoke and Mirrors: Symbia II for solo alto saxophone at the World Saxophone Congress, St. Andrews, Scotland, July, 2012. Bill is the unltimate expert on this piece and has performed the work on three continents.
WSCXVI WILLIAM STREET Smoke and Mirrors Simbia II by John M Kennedy