Welcome to my website! Thanks for stopping by. Please stay tuned and I'll be back here right away with information about upcoming performances.
Kind of braggy, but at least it's still under 500 words:
Over the past thirty years, Kenji Bunch has established himself as one of America’s most engaging, influential, and prolific composers, with genre-defying music that has been performed on six continents and by over seventy American orchestras. Cited by Alex Ross in his seminal book “There Rest Is Noise” and dubbed “One of the new faces of new music” by the NY Times (A. Tommasini), Bunch’s unique compositional voice has earn acclaim from audiences, performers, and critics alike.
Influenced by his mother’s experience as a Japanese immigrant, his father’s as a political/social activist, and his childhood spent in the meditative natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Bunch combines his interests in history, philosophy, nature, and intergenerational and cross-cultural dialogue with the intention to entertain, inspire, and facilitate healing with his music- at times with vulnerable sincerity, irreverent humor, dazzling virtuosity, or by confronting difficult issues of trauma from our shared histories.
As the 2021 Composer in Residence for the Moab Music Festival, Bunch collaborated with actor/activist George Takei to create Lost Freedom: A Memory, interweaving music for chamber ensemble with Takei’s narration of his own WWII-era childhood incarceration in America. Other recent works include commissions and premieres from the Seattle Symphony, Oregon Symphony, Lark Quartet, Britt Festival, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Music From Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, Eugene Ballet, Third Angle New Music, and Grant Park Music Festival. All-Bunch concerts have been mounted in New York City, Boston, Denver, Nashville, Mobile, and Portland, as well as at the Perpignon Conservatoire in southern France, the Stamford Festival in England, and the Oranjewoud Festival in The Netherlands. His dance collaborations include work with such renowned choreographers as David Parsons, Toni Pimble, Nai-Ni Chen, Kate Skarpetowska, Paul Vasterling, and Darrell Grand Moultrie. Bunch's film credits include The Bellman Equation and The Argentum Prophecies, and his extensive discography includes many recordings, now streaming on all platforms.
Also recognized as a groundbreaking violist, Bunch was the first student to receive dual degrees in viola and composition from The Juilliard School and was a founding member of influential ensembles Flux Quartet (1996-2002), Ne(x)tworks (2003-2011), and Nurse Kaya String Quartet (2002-2005), as well as the bluegrass band Citigrass (1998-2013). Committed to a multi-style approach to the instrument that includes improvisation and modalities of playing beyond the conventions of western classical art music, Bunch has worked with a diverse array of prominent artists including Ornette Coleman, Lenny Kravitz, Mike Gordon (Phish), and vocalist Joan La Barbara.
After several decades in New York City, Bunch returned to his hometown of Portland, Oregon in 2013 with his wife, pianist Monica Ohuchi, with whom he co-directs the new music group Fear No Music. Additionally, Bunch directs MYSfits, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony’s multi-style string ensemble, and teaches viola, composition, and music theory at Portland State University, Reed College, and for the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Most of all, he and Monica enjoy time with their two children and their dogs Marcie and Nutmeg.
Mericifully short (under 150 words!):
Kenji Bunch writes music that looks for commonalities between musical styles, for understandings that transcend cultural or generational barriers, and for empathic connections with his listeners. Drawing on vernacular musical traditions, an interest in highlighting historical injustices and inaccuracies, and techniques from his classical training, Bunch creates music with a unique personal vocabulary that appeals to performers, audiences, and critics alike. With his work frequently performed worldwide and recorded numerous times, Bunch considers his current mission the search for and celebration of shared emotional truths about the human experience from the profound to the absurd, to help facilitate connection and healing through entertainment, vulnerability, humor, and joy.
Mr. Bunch is widely recognized for performing his own groundbreaking works for viola. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the new music group Fear No Music and is deeply committed to music education in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.