Kendall Williams opens up his faculty recital
Brooklyn, New York, USA - Kendall Williams is an unadulterated triple threat - composer, arranger and performing artist. And of course you can throw educator in there if you like.
Quiet and unassuming - his abilities are masked by his easy-going demeanor - but not on this night, as his name and music were front and center in the big lights on stage - live in concert at Brooklyn College on October 22. The audience got an up-close and personal look and hearing of the man and his music. Introspective, at times deeply personal, human, sharing and caring. Indeed, as Kendall said in his opening remarks “I want my music to tell stories.”
Steel ensemble on stage for Kendall K. Williams faculty recital
With a little help from his friends (many who were part of and played integral roles in that travel) Kendall took the audience on a passage that chronicles his fantastic journey with the steelpan instrument at his faculty recital at Brooklyn College’s Don Buchwald Theater in the Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts. Naturally, his own ensemble, Pan In Motion, was part of the night’s illustrious cast.
Kendall Williams with Pan In Motion at his faculty recital
The doors opened a little after 8:00 p.m. to let the attendees into the Don Buchwald Theater on the Brooklyn College campus.
Dance, Spoken Word and Pan - with Kendall Williams
It was indeed an inclusive body of work which covered Kendall’s total journey to date with the steelpan artform. The works covered his early childhood experiences, the spoken word combined with a dance sequence, additional interpretation through the Gemini Duo, orchestra arrangements and more. Kendall continues to challenge the accepted and expected norms of steelpan-related music through his compositions.
The Gemini Duo
|Body and Soul||J. GREEN (1908-1989)|
|To you, with love||K. WILLIAMS (b.1986)|
|accompanying dance by Alexis Schloss and Amanda Maximin|
|4 Sticks, a Trumpet, and a Mute||K. WILLIAMS|
|featuring Minerva Johnson, trumpet|
|Feel So Good||CHUCK MANGIONE (b.1940)|
|featuring Marc Brooks, double seconds|
|A lonely walk for two||K. WILLIAMS|
|featuring Gemini Duo — Kristen McGuire, flute; Rob Guilford, double seconds|
|Pan in Motion|
|Confirmation||CHARLIE PARKER (1920-1955)|
|What now||K. WILLIAMS|
|Something More||R.I.C.O. FLY FOREVA|
|featuring R.I.C.O. Fly Foreva|
|Love’s a B****||R.I.C.O. FLY FOREVA|
|featuring R.I.C.O. Fly Foreva; Elroy Primus, vocals; Jahlani Roberts, steel pan|
|My Turn to Jam|
|featuring Odie Franklin, double seconds|
|Calypso Music||DAVID RUDDER (b.1953)|
About the Artist
Kendall K. Williams
Having been born around the Trinidadian culture, Kendall Williams adopted the country’s national instrument, the steel pan. From as early as the age of four, Kendall made efforts to mimic his parents as they displayed their talents in a Miami-based steel band. It wasn’t long before his efforts turned into a reality as he developed his skills and passion for the instrument. He has performed with large, world-renowned steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago as well as bands in the New York based scene. He took things a step further when he graduated from Florida Memorial University with a B.A. in Music under the direction of Dr. Dawn Batson, with his main instrument being the steel pan. He continued to further his studies at NYU Steinhardt, where he received a Master of Music degree in Music Theory & Composition, studying with Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and Rich Shemaria. There he also actively participated in the NYU Steel band under the leadership of Artist Faculty member Josh Quillen.
As he moved closer to graduating, his goals included composing and arranging music that could further showcase the steel pan for the virtuous instrument it is, while bringing his unique style to more conventional instruments known today. Now that he has graduated he aggressively pursues a career as a composer, arranger, and advocate for the steel pan instrument. He works to open people’s minds to the possibilities steel pan can offer the world by showing that the instrument is more versatile than it may seem. In 2013, 2015, and 2017 he had music for steel pan and contemporary ensemble programmed on the Bang on A Can Marathon. Just before that, he was awarded the opportunity to work with the Brooklyn Philharmonic on a project that involved steel pan and contemporary music compositions.
In 2014 he was the Van Lier Fellow with the American Composers Orchestra. In addition, he is also currently a doctoral student in Music Composition at Princeton University! There he studies under the auspices of Dan Trueman, Steve Mackey, Dmitri Tymockzo, and So Percussion to name a few. In his most recent years, he has been actively lecturing and leading workshops at various colleges, universities and high schools across the United States.
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