Kenji Bunch will lead FearNoMusic

The Portland contemporary music ensemble gets new artistic leadership

Kenji Bunch will lead FearNoMusic

Kenji Bunch will lead FearNoMusic

Composer/violist Kenji Bunch will become the new artistic director of FearNoMusic, Portland’s no-music-barred contemporary music group, ArtsWatch just learned.

The timing is propitious: the ensemble will perform an in-depth concert of Bunch’s work in “To Brooklyn and Back: A retrospective of the chamber music of Kenji Bunch” at 8 p.m. April 18 at the Alberta Rose Theatre. And Bunch recently published a sort of statement of principles on ArtsWatch, so we know exactly what’s on his mind going forward:

“We claim to possess the world’s most sophisticated ears, honed from years of training and dedication. Would it hurt to open our minds, our hearts, and these Olympic-caliber ears of ours to make room for all kinds of music, not just the precious tunes we already have in our heads?”

Kenji Bunch/Photo by John Kin/OPB

Kenji Bunch/Photo by John Kin/OPB

Bunch is a home-grown Portland musician, having graduated from Wilson High School and the Portland Youth Philharmonic before heading to New York to study music at the Juilliard school. His musical interests are wide (he plays with the neo-bluegrass band Citigas, for example), and in 2011, he appeared as the soloist with the American Composers Orchestra in the world premiere of his viola concerto “The Devil’s Box” in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall.

He returned to Portland last June with his wife, pianist Monica Ohuchi, who will serve as FearNoMusic’s executive director. ArtsWatch’s Brett Campbell broke the story of Bunch’s homecoming and interviewed him about it in Willamette Week. And ArtsWatch also revealed Bunch’s appointment as interim director of  FNM’s Young Composers Project.

Bunch succeeds violinist Paloma Griffin Hébert, who led FNM for three years, presiding over the memorable “100 Years of John Cage” concert in 2012 at YU, among many other concerts.

Here’s an OPB interview with Bunch, just before he came back to town.

One Response.

  1. bob priest says:

    this is VERY good news!

    go, Kenji, go . . .

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