SettleCover400SQSeptember-October: New Slow/Fast record and tour coming

Settle.  Coming September 23.
Plus an October tour to Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Baltimore, NYC and more.

November 18-23: Gutbucket week at the Stone

We are recording a new live record.  Plus multiple special guests, and a night of my chamber music.  Details here.

Joining the D’Addario reed family

I’m very excited to have joined up with the D’Addario folks and to be added to their artist roster as an endorser.

upcoming shows

Asphalt Orchestra plays Pixies

Schwartz Center for the Arts, 1700 North Decatur Road #251, Atlanta, GA

Asphalt Orchestra plays Pixies

Oklahoma State University, 900 North Portland Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK

w/Alarm Will Sound

Sacrum Profanum Festival, Krakow, Poland

w/Bang on a Can All-Stars

Sacrum Profanum Festival, Krakow, Poland

projects

dublin-ens___crowd_shot
Bang on a Can All-Stars

Bang on a Can All-Stars

Acclaimed internationally-touring electro-acoustic sextet for which I largely play clarinet and bass clarinet. This group, directed by the Bang on a Can collective in NYC, has worked with an exhaustive list of composers over 20 years, while focusing on the music of artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe.  It has been a pleasure to be a new member of this fantastic group since May 2013.

BANG ON A CAN
Asphalt Orchestra

Asphalt Orchestra

I am the managing director and alto saxophonist for this 12-piece virtuoso street band that plays music from across the world, performing outdoors at festivals and indoors at theaters across the US and Europe. After working with everyone from Yoko Ono to Goran Bregovic, David Byrne, St. Vincent, and more, Asphalt’s newest project is a re-imagination of the Pixies record Surfer Rosa, which debuted at Lincoln Center Out of Doors in Summer 2013.

Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast
Slow/Fast

Slow/Fast

My latest project, of which I am the composer and bandleader. This is long form, theatrical and often intense music for alto saxophone/bass clarinet with trumpet, guitar, bass, drums. I’m trying to synthesize some of my more rigorously composed music with the influences of jazz and improvisation. First CD, “It Would Be Easier If,” released in 2010, received a feature-length review in The New York Times referring to the “intricately wrought and incident-steeped” compositions and “gutsy precision of the playing.” The followup CD, “Settle,” is due for release in 2014.

Gutbucket_2010_1_NataschaRockwin
Gutbucket

Gutbucket

This punk/jazz 4-piece collective has been going strong for going on 15 years — having toured 33 US states and 19 countries across the USA and Europe, and released 5 CDs and a DVD on Cuneiform Records, Cantaloupe Music/Enja Records, NRW, Plattenfroster and Knitting Factory Records.

Ensemble Signal

Ensemble Signal

Modern chamber orchestra directed by Brad Lubman.  With Signal, I’ve worked with Steve Reich, Helmut Lachenmann, Oliver Knussen, Hilda Paredes, and more, and on records for Mode, Orange Mountain, and Cantaloupe Music.

Bang on a Can Summer Festival

Bang on a Can Summer Festival

I’m on performance faculty here with an incredible team of colleagues.  This festival, for emerging composers and performers, features inspiring student-fellows every summer, and is always a highlight of the year — with multiple daily concerts, packed rehearsal days, and an ending marathon concert all at the Mass MoCA museum in the Berkshires, Massachusetts.

compositions

Me Vs. solo piano 2012 world premieres by Karl Larson and Anne Rainwater, NYC and San Francisco, 2013
Music for Trains saxophone quartet 2013 debuted at Bang on a Can Summer Marathon at Mass MoCA, 2013
Thaw string quartet 2011 buy score recorded by JACK Quartet on "Thaw" (Cantaloupe Music, 2013)
perpetual bass clarinet and string quartet 2010 buy score recorded by Ken Thomson and JACK Quartet on "Thaw" (Cantaloupe Music, 2013)
It Would Be Easier If bass clarinet, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2008 buy score

Orchestra

Wait Your Turn orchestra + punk/jazz quartet 2007 Commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, NYC debut at Carnegie Hall

Solo/Duo

Me Vs. solo piano 2012 world premieres by Karl Larson and Anne Rainwater, NYC and San Francisco, 2013
I trust you solo cello 2012 commissioned by Mariel Roberts
pay to play violin and alto saxophone 2011 For Todd Reynolds and myself
Deafening Irrelevance acoustic guitar and violin 2011 commissioned by Andie Springer and James Moore for Europe-Canada-USA tour
Storm Drain violin and bass clarinet 2010 buy score commissioned by Todd Reynolds for CD Outerborough (Innova Records)
Undo bass clarinet duet 2008 buy score Commissioned by Sqwonk; Released on Black
Are You Ready To Meet Him? acoustic+distorted cello/voice 2006 text by Jerry Falwell; Written for Jody Redhage

Chamber

Incoming solo harp, electric guitar and tenor saxophone with 3 strings, bass and drums 2012 debuted at Bang on a Can Summer Marathon at Mass MoCA, 2012
Music for Trains saxophone quartet 2013 debuted at Bang on a Can Summer Marathon at Mass MoCA, 2013
November, dusk 2 bass clarinets, contrabass clarinet, contrabass, and drumset 2011
burst woodwind quartet 2011 for DZ4
when it rains bass clarinet quartet 2011-2012 premiered at Bang on a Can Summer Festival 2011, revised
Thaw string quartet 2011 buy score recorded by JACK Quartet on "Thaw" (Cantaloupe Music, 2013)
Unpack the Elephant 12-piece marching band 2011 for Asphalt Orchestra
perpetual bass clarinet and string quartet 2010 buy score recorded by Ken Thomson and JACK Quartet on "Thaw" (Cantaloupe Music, 2013)
Rut 9 saxophones 2009 released on Anti-Social Music Is the Future of Everything (Peacock Records); Performance at the Bang on a Can Marathon 2009
seasonal.disorder cl, cello, pno, e gtr, bass, drums 2008 commissioned by Bang on a Can for the Bang on a Can All-Stars; NY debut at Merkin Concert Hall
Such Insolence! string quartet, saxophone, guitar, bass, drums 2007 Written for Gutbucket + Ethel; Debuted at the Köln Triennale, Germany, May 2007
Eberswalde to Amsterdam string quartet, saxophone, guitar, bass, drums 2006 Written for Gutbucket + Ethel; Debuted at the Saalfelden Jazz Festival, Austria, August 2006
How to Play 5 clarinets 2006 in 3 movements; Debuted at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, July 2006
Throw Back soli amplified viola and electric guitar with string quintet and 6 drumstick players 2006 For Beth Meyers and Ty Citerman with Anti-Social Music; Debuted at Merkin Hall, NYC, February 2006
4+4 saxophone quartet 2004 Premiered by Collide Quartet
Don't Stop two alto saxophones, cello, and bass 2003 Premiered by Anti-Social Music, Performed at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, 2004
Tango string quartet 2001 Premiered by Gutbucket and Invert at Joe's Pub
Song two voices and two violins 2004 for Anti-Social Music; Recorded on Anti-Social Music Sings the Great American Songbook (self-released)

Chamber Orchestra

Gwely Mernans Arrangement of Aphex Twin for Alarm Will Sound 2005 Recorded on Acoustica (Cantaloupe Music), NYC debut at Lincoln Center Festival 2005

Soundtrack

Night Mail soundtrack (British, 1936), 22 min 2007 debuted by Gutbucket at True/False Film Festival, Columbia, MO
Johnny the Giant Killer soundtrack (French, 1951) 2005 wrote ¼ of 60 min. work; debuted by Gutbucket at Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL

Slow/Fast

through-composed distorted/clean jazz quintet

Settle alto saxophone, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2011
Spring alto saxophone, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2011
Bend Towards Light bass clarinet, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums, glockenspiel 2011
Welding for Freedom alto saxophone, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2010
We Are Not All In This Together bass clarinet, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2010
Kleine Helmet bass clarinet, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2008 buy score
Goddamn You, Ice Cream Truck alto saxophone, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2008 buy score
No, No, No alto saxophone, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2008 buy score
Wanderangst bass clarinet, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2008 buy score
It Would Be Easier If bass clarinet, trumpet, e. gtr, bass, drums 2008 buy score

Gutbucket

Recorded works only - for alto saxophone, gtr, bass, drums

Give Up 2010 recorded on Flock (Cuneiform Records 2011)
d0g Help Us 2009 recorded on Flock (Cuneiform Records 2011)
Fuck You and Your Hipster Tie 2009 recorded on Flock (Cuneiform Records 2011)
Carnivore 2008 recorded on A Modest Proposal (Cuneiform Records 2009)
Side Effects May Include 2007 recorded on A Modest Proposal (Cuneiform Records 2009)
Disciplining the Fugitive 2004 recorded on Sludge Test (Cantaloupe Music/NRW 2006)
O.J. Bin Laden 2002 recorded on Dry Humping the American Dream (Cantaloupe Music/Enja 2004); Arranged for Gutbucket + string quartet 2003
Lift Cover, Pull Cord 2001 recorded on Dry Humping the American Dream (Cantaloupe Music/Enja 2004)
Its 2000 recorded on InsomniacsDream (Knitting Factory Records 2001)

discography

KenThomson_ThawThaw Ken Thomson/Jack Quartet Cantaloupe Musiclisten - buy
Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast: It Would Be Easier IfIt Would Be Easier If Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast Intuition Recordslisten - buy

Featured Composer

KenThomson_ThawThaw Ken Thomson/Jack Quartet Cantaloupe Musiclisten - buy
Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast: It Would Be Easier IfIt Would Be Easier If Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast Intuition Recordslisten - buy
gutbuckethighrescoverDry Humping the American Dream Gutbucket Enja Records/Cantaloupe Musiclisten - buy
gutbucket-DVDLive at MS Stubnitz 2001-2007 DVD Gutbucket Plattenfroster Recordslisten - buy
sqwonk-blackBlack Sqwonk listen - buy

Featured Performer

KenThomson_ThawThaw Ken Thomson/Jack Quartet Cantaloupe Musiclisten - buy
Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast: It Would Be Easier IfIt Would Be Easier If Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast Intuition Recordslisten - buy
gutbuckethighrescoverDry Humping the American Dream Gutbucket Enja Records/Cantaloupe Musiclisten - buy
gutbucket-DVDLive at MS Stubnitz 2001-2007 DVD Gutbucket Plattenfroster Recordslisten - buy

More as Composer/Arranger

davidbyrnestvincentLove this Giant David Byrne/St. Vincent 4AD
asm_FOEis The Future of Everything Anti-Social Music Peacock Recordingslisten - buy
asm_songbookSings the Great American Songbook Anti-Social Music Peacock Recordingslisten - buy

More as Performer

Ken Thomson is a Brooklyn-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer. In demand as a composer and freelancer in many settings, he moves quickly between genres and scenes, bringing a fiery intensity and emotional commitment to every musical situation; Time Out NY called him “the hardest-working saxophonist in new-music show business.”

He has recently released a CD of his compositions for the heralded JACK Quartet, entitled “Thaw,” on Cantaloupe Music, called #1 Classical CD of 2013 by Rhapsody.com, and was featured in NPR’s “10 Songs Public Radio Can’t Stop Playing.”  His latest project of exclusively his music, called Slow/Fast, released its debut CD “It Would Be Easier If” internationally on Intuition Records in 2010, garnering a feature review in The New York Times highlighting the “intricately wrought and incident-steeped” compositions and “gutsy precision of the playing.” A followup disc, “Settle,” will be released in 2014.

He plays clarinet for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, one of the world’s preeminent new music ensembles. He leads the Asphalt Orchestra – a 12-piece next-generation avant-garde marching band, called “cooly brilliant, infectious… top notch players” by The New York Times. He plays saxophone and is one of the 3 composers in the punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured internationally to nineteen countries and 32 states over fourteen years, and released CDs for Knitting Factory, Enja, NRW, Cantaloupe and Cuneiform Records. He is on faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival.

As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the True/False Film Festival, and others, and has received awards from New Music USA, ASCAP and Meet the Composer. The New York Times wrote of his work “Wait Your Turn” for the American Composers Orchestra upon its debut at Carnegie Hall: “The concert ended on a high note…. the music offered a density worthy of the closing bars of a Led Zeppelin epic;” and of his work “seasonal.disorder” for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, “a virtuoso piece… a texture laced with power chords, screaming clarinet lines and cluster-laden piano writing. In the end it is sheer madness, in a good, thrillingly visceral way.” The Philadelphia Inquirer also noted: “Thomson’s Wait Your Turn is as visceral as music can be.”

His 2009 saxophone nonet, “Rut,” was featured on the Bang on a Can Marathon NYC; his 2012 work “Incoming” and 2013 work “Music for Trains” premiered at the Bang on a Can Summer Marathon at Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA in 2012-13. His through-composed rescoring of the 22-minute 1936 British film “Night Mail” was called “a masterful re-imagining of an old classic” by Indiewire.com upon its debut at the True/False Film Festival. His clarinet quintet “How to Play” has been played in the US and Australia by multiple ensembles. The San Francisco Weekly writes about his music, “Thomson’s original compositions are as complex as a beehive, filled with amber-hued nooks and crannies that bear traces of jazz, world music, and classical, without succumbing to any of them.”

As a saxophonist and clarinetist, he is a member of the next-generation chamber orchestra Signal (conducted by Brad Lubman), working directly with composers from Steve Reich to Helmut Lachenmann and a performer on CDs for Mode, Orange Mountain, and Cantaloupe Records. He is a frequent collaborator with many new-composed music groups including Alarm Will Sound (on their Nonesuch Records debut, “A/rhythmia”), So Percussion, and more. He has also worked as a music director, notably, directing composer Julia Wolfe’s “Traveling Music” at the Bordeaux Conservatory, France, 2009, and has conducted performances of “Music for Airports” with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, choir, and guest musicians in Melbourne and Buenos Aires.

He has performed extensively across the US and Europe at major jazz festivals including Jazz a Vienne, San Sebastian Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Warsaw Summer Jazz Days, Rotterdam Jazz, Jazz Saalfelden, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Belgrade Jazz Festival, etc. He is a Selmer Paris and Conn-Selmer Artist, a D’Addario Reeds artist, and endorses Sibelius software.

contact

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publisher
clusterhocket music (ascap)

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