New Music Premieres

Featured Composer: Kenji Bunch


About Kenji Bunch

Kenji Bunch represents his hometown of Portland, Oregon as “one of the leading American composers of his generation, best known for amalgamating traditional American musical forms.” (Oregon ArtsWatch) While conservatory trained at The Juilliard School, Bunch infuses his music with folk and roots influences achieving an authentic and seamless blend of classical and vernacular styles. “Clearly modern but deeply respectful of tradition and instantly enjoyable,” (The Washington Post) his music has inspired a new genre classification. “Call it neo-American: casual on the outside, complex underneath, immediate and accessible to first-time listeners… Bunch’s music is shiningly original.” (The Oregonian) Deeply sensitive to history, philosophy, and the ways in which the arts are shared intergenerationally and cross-culturally, Bunch incorporates a variety of world music style references which aptly mirror the diversity of international influence on modern American society. Sly, irresistible grooves pepper his work, revealing a deft ability to integrate bluegrass, hip hop, jazz, and funk idioms. His rich, tonal harmonies and drawn-out, satisfying builds have wide emotive appeal that easily lend themselves to dance and film. Over sixty American orchestras have performed Bunch’s music, which “reache(s) into every section of the orchestra to create an intriguing mixture of sonic colors.” (NW Reverb) Recent works include commissions and premieres from the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony, the Lark Quartet, the Britt Festival, Music From Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, the Eugene Ballet, and the Grant Park Music Festival. His extensive discography includes recordings on Sony/BMG, EMI Classics, Koch, RCA, and Naxos labels among others. Also an outstanding violist, Bunch received both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in viola and composition from the Juilliard School and was a founding member of the highly acclaimed ensembles Flux Quartet (1996-2002) and Ne(x)tworks (2003-2011). Bunch currently serves as Artistic Director of Fear No Music, and teaches viola, composition, and music theory at Portland State University, Reed College, and for the Portland Youth Philharmonic. Find out more at


Hear the Alaska premiere of the Kenji Bunch’s work, String Circle, performed at the Jazz and America Around the World concert on July 25, 2019.


About New Music Premieres

New Music Premieres is a project where we promote contemporary classical music. Great art illuminates the time in which it was written. While the most popular classical music was composed long ago, there are many great works being written today. Every year Anchorage Chamber Music Festival chooses a contemporary work to be performed at one of the festival concerts.

Compositions premiered:

Vladimir Scolnic: Tensions…Wonder
R. Michael Daugherty: “Quem Genuit Maria”
Nathan Prillaman: Funk
Phillip Sink: Selections from Leave a Comment
Douglas Hofstadter: Good People All and Little Prelude in e min
Karalyn Schubring: Ignite