Justin Leo Kennedy

Electronic Music & Sound Art

Email: justinleokennedy@gmail.com | Tel: 805-794-7532

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Work Highlights

Installations & NIMEs

I have served on multiple sound installation teams, both in leadership and supporting roles. I specialize in two specific areas: 1) the design of interactive digital audio systems and 2) the creation of sound design that lasts for indeterminate durations. To clarify the latter of these, I am describing sound design that the user might trigger for only one second or for up to thirty minutes. Another aspect of my artistic practice involves the creation of New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIMEs). Click here to learn more.

Live Electronic Music

I've been engaged in electronic music performance since 2009. My principle tools include a laptop, a MIDI keyboard, a launchpad, and gestural sound control devices. I regularly integrate throat singing and custom-made digital synths into my pieces. As a performer, I draw on my experience as the previous Co-Director of the Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State as well as my past tenure as a member of the Bob Cole Conservatory Laptop Ensemble. View my reel to the right, click here for full-length performances, and check out WCU's CMAP program, where I presently teach MIDI / synthesis.

Musical Compositions

While earning my doctorate in music composition, I learned to write in a variety of styles, from synthwave, to orchestral cues, to avant garde chamber music, and beyond. I am equally comfortable composing for concerts, film/video games, and installations. 

To the left is my reel. It starts with commercial music styles, gradually sliding through different genres. Regarding genre, I most often get hired to make electronic music or sound art, but I maintain activity in the "acoustic composition world" as well. Recently, my acoustic music appeared in Jean Ferris' America's Musical Landscape 8th edition textbook.

Click here to hear full-length recordings, view complete scores, and see examples notation work I've done using Finale, Sibelius, and Adobe Illustrator.

Game Audio

I've worked as a composer and sound designer on various indie game titles. Through these ventures, I learned how to use Unity gaming engine and how to write some C# code. This led to me designing and teaching a game audio class, where I built a game for which my students created music and sound design.

Last year, I presented my game audio research at the GameSoundCon. I am fortunate to get to present again at GSC this year (online). To the right are slides from my presentation The Flow of Time: A Study of Koji Kondo's Loop Point Obscuration Techniques. Click here to learn more about my game audio work and to navigate to a download link for Gil Dori's 8-Bit Gesture Maker.


Justin Leo Kennedy is a composer and sound artist specializing in electronic music. He is Assistant Professor of Music Technology at Western Carolina University, where he's also Director of the Music Technology Ensemble.


Dr. Kennedy has been invited to show his work at the Spoleto Festival (Italy), ISEA (Hong Kong), SEAMUS (Georgia), MUSLAB (Mexico), and more. His music has been heard at venues such as Disneyland, Hamburger Sprechwerk (Germany), and the Naru Arts Center (South Korea). 


Justin's pieces for electronics and Mongolian-inspired vocalizations have earned him a selection as an Alternate for the Fulbright Fellowship, a Title VIII Fellowship, and Ventura's Endowment for the Arts. He holds composition degrees from Chicago College of Performing Arts (B.M.), CSU Long Beach (M.M.), and Arizona State University (D.M.A.). 

Before academia, Justin worked full-time in the commercial market as Creative Director at Baltu Studios, where he composed music for games, did sound design for VR applications, and programmed interactive media installations. He recently helped create a list of affordable software for producers, and is currently developing his own plug-ins.

Justin often gets asked about why he wears a beret. There's a simple answer: his mother. She gave him his first beret when he was 16 and he’s been wearing them since. Justin’s mom is an artist, his father is a software engineer, his wife is a cat lover, and his brother was an IT specialist. Justin is the sum of those parts: a computer music-making cat lover.


PhxMobi, Phoenix, AZ, "Phoenix Mobile and Emerging Tech Festival 2017." December 5, 2017.

New Classic LA, Los Angeles, CA, "Preview: CSULB Laptop Ensemble Comes to Tuesdays @ Monk Space This Week." Cristina Lord. January 23, 2017.

The State Press, Tempe, AZ, “Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble to Showcase Student-Written Pieces.” Skylar Mason. April 3, 2016.

KJZZ 91.5, Phoenix, AZ, “ASU Group Making Music ... With Laptops.” Mark Brodie. February 26, 2016.

MUSLAB, Mexico City, MX, Interview for “MUSLAB 2015.” Gabriela W. Pacheco, Maday G. Alfaro, Miguel A. Reyes, Pedro Castillo. February 9, 2016.

Fox 10 News, Phoenix, AZ, On-Air Television Interview with LORKAS. January 2, 2016.

MH Radio, Mexico City, MX, "La Muestra Internacional de Música Electroacústica 2015."

     Orlando Canseco. (article in Spanish). December 16, 2015.

Mongol Survey, Bloomington, IN, "Mongolian Naadam Festival in Bloomington, IN."

     The Mongolia Society. Winter 2015. 

The State Press, Tempe, AZ, “ASU’s Laptop Orchestra Challenges Conventional Approach to

     Music.” Isabella Castillo. November 22, 2015.

ASU Now, Tempe, AZ, “Laptop Orchestra Pushes Buttons and Boundaries.”

     Marshall Terrill. November 4, 2015

ArtWalk Ventura, Ventura, CA, “Artist Spotlight: Justin Kennedy.” July 17, 2015.  

Kookmin University Press Release (article in Korean). August 5, 2013. 

Bob Cole Conservatory News, Long Beach, CA, “Laptop Ensemble in Collaboration with Singing Actors Group from Seoul.” July 19, 2013.

Spoleto City, Spoleto, Italy, “Cole Laptop Ensambles di Los Angeles e Singing Actors.” (article in Italian). July 12, 2013.

CSULB Scholar of the Month Article, March 2013. 

Appearance on Fox 10 News with Laptop Orchestra of Arizona State


© 2020 by Justin Leo Kennedy. All rights reserved.