John Kilkenny

John Kilkenny's Biography

John Kilkenny earned his BM from the Juilliard School and his MM from Temple University. He is currently Director of Percussion Studies, Artistic Director of the Mason Percussion Group, and recruitment coordinator for the School of Music at George Mason University.

During his time at Mason, the percussion program has enjoyed tremendous growth and a significant expansion of performance and academic opportunities for university students. The percussion ensemble has toured the Pacific Northwest and has enjoyed featured appearances at the Virginia Music Educators Conference, College Music Society Mid Atlantic Conference, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Ensemble and academic opportunities include additional classes in percussion literature and pedagogy, indoor drumline, as well as Afro-Cuban and steel pan ensembles.

As a performer, John has been hailed by the Washington Post as a “particularly fine timpanist”, and enjoys a multi-faceted career that includes orchestral performances with the Washington National Opera and Ballet, National Symphony, Washington Concert Opera, Cathedral Choral Society, Washington Chorus, Choral Arts Society, and virtually every other Washington, D.C. area performing arts organization. A champion of contemporary music and an active chamber music performer, he collaborates regularly with flautist Karen Johnson, pianist Carlos Rodriguez, the Folger Consort, Washington Bach Consort, The Verge Ensemble, 21st Century Consort, and the National Gallery New Music Ensemble. He has commissioned and premiered numerous works over his career by composers as diverse as Peter Erskine, Don McCullough, and Alenjandro Vinao. Michael Daugherty's “UFO” percussion concerto, “Raise the Roof” concerto for timpani, and the Philip Glass “Concerto Fantasy” for two timpanists and wind symphony are among his concerto appearances.

John is Artist-in-Residence at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival and on the faculty of the Music for All Summer Symposium. From 2005-2007 John was program coordinator for the University of Maryland Summer Percussion Workshop. He served in a similar position from 2008-2010 for the Indiana University Percussion Academy. Sought after as a clinician and guest conductor, he has appeared at the Juilliard Summer Percussion Academy, John Philip Sousa Foundation National High School Honor Band, the Western International Band Conference, the Virginia Music Educators Conference, and at numerous universities and Days of Percussion events throughout the country.

John is a Yamaha Performing Artist and is proudly sponsored by Vic Firth mallets, Zildjian cymbals, and Remo percussion products.

John Kilkenny's Gear