Justin Leo Kennedy
Electronic Musician | Composer | Sound Artist
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. On occasion, I 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 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.
Composing & Arranging
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.
Sound Art & Installations
I have served on multiple sound installation teams, both in leadership and supporting roles. My speciality is designing interactive digital audio exhibits that utilize gestural sound control methods. I am comfortable working in surround sound, stereo, and ambisonic formats. My work has been shown at children's museums, fine arts museums, and various community centers. Many of the projects I've been involved in have been collaborations with engineers. These ventures yielded the creation of custom hardware and, in some cases, software applications. Click here to learn more.
Currently, I am conducting research in the field of accessible music technology, finding ways to interface the EyeHarp and FaceOSC with analog devices and audio hardware. This endeavor is a collaborative effort with the EyeHarp Association.
I also conduct game audio research. I've presented twice at the GameSoundCon. To the right is a video presentation from GSC 2020, where I presented alongside my colleague Dr. Gil Dori on Dynamic Notification SFX. You can click here to download 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 Velocitties Ensemble and private instructor for the Performance Technology studio.
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 Technologies, 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. His current research project is entitled Accessible Routes. It explores control possibilities of audio hardware and analog devices through the use of face- and eye-tracking software.
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