• Ken Walicki

Ken Walicki

Ken Walicki is an American composer who is widely recognized and
acknowledged for his dramatic, engaging, and often humorous music, which
reflects the time we live in.
Because of his unusual and interesting background, his sound world has evolved
into a unique combination of Art, Pop, Jazz, and World music. Walicki‘s
influences include Ligeti, Zorn, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, vegetarianism, Public
Enemy, Buddhism, Duran Duran, and the Zapatista Revolution in
Mexico. Walicki was one of the first composers to use turntables in his music
and the first composer to have turntables as a regular instrument in a standing
His music has been performed throughout the world by the Kronos Quartet,
ETHEL, the New Century Saxophone Quartet, the Soldier String Quartet, and
members of the New York Philharmonic, The Los Angeles Symphony, The Los
Angeles Chamber Symphony, The Detroit Symphony, The Pacific Symphony, the
Istanbul Borusan Orchestra, and the SWR Kaiserslautern Orchestra. He is the
composer-in-residence for the new music ensemble the Divan Consort.
Walicki has received grants and commissions from a variety of organizations and
performing ensembles including the American Composers Forum, the National
Endowment for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, the Kronos Quartet, the Mary
Flagler Cary Trust, and Meet the Composer.
Growing up playing guitar in local Detroit garage bands, Walicki decided, at
early age, he wanted to dedicate his life to music. After hearing the Detroit
Symphony play Prokofiev’s “Alexander Nevsky Suite” and attending a concert
by Andres Segovia, his life was changed. He decided to pursue a career as a
composer and concert artist. Following an injury to his left hand, Walicki turned
to composition full-time. His studies included a two-year period in Germany as
a Fulbright scholar where he studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Helmut
Lachenmann, and Rolf Hempel. He was also an active participant in master
classes with Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and William Schumann. His formal
education ended when he received his Ph.D. a long time ago.
Aesthetically, Walicki is a combination of his parts. He enjoys traveling and
finds it to be a wonderful source of inspiration. After spending a great deal of time in
the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent, he has found these cultures to be
particularly close to his heart and psyche. Together these experiences have made
him a composer of diverse, accessible yet rigorous music. In addition to
traditional concert music venues such as Lincoln Center in New York and the
Liszt Academy in Budapest, his music has been performed in new music clubs
such as CBGB’s, the Knitting Factory, and countless cafes and storefronts
throughout the world. Without compromising his values, Walicki has made a
point of writing music that relates to people and their situations.
Walicki has collaborated with a variety of artists in the classical, pop, theater,
film, and dance worlds, such as Lydia Lunch, Dora Ohrenstein, the Doug Elkins
Dance Company, Emmy winning producer/director Mark Obenhaus, American
Opera Projects, and Bermuda Triangle. He was the founder and composer of the
Ken Valitsky Ensemble, which has included Regina Carter and Thomas Chapin
as members.
Previously, besides being on the faculty at New York University, Walicki taught
composition in Istanbul, Turkey at the Center for Advanced Music Techniques
(MIAM), a department of Istanbul Technical University. Currently, he lives in
Southern California with his wife and son, and the family cat Fatihye. He is a
practicing Vajrayana Buddhist and Associate Professor and director of the
composition/theory program at California State University, Fullerton. Walicki’s
music is available on Knitting Factory Works, C.R.I., CRS Artists, and Channel



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