The Fort Collins Symphony Association’s board president Rhett B. Strom announced today Maestro Wes Kenney has signed a five-year contract extension as Music Director of the 67-year-old organization. Now in his fourteenth year, the award-winning conductor will continue leading Fort Collins’ professional orchestra through 2022. “Fort Collins is incredibly fortunate to have such a talented and visionary Maestro who lives and works in our community,” said Strom. “By giving Maestro Kenney a five-year contract, the board honors his significant contributions to make our symphony vibrant while also recognizing how much more he has to give.”
Wes Kenney was hired as the Music Director of the Fort Collins Symphony and Director of Orchestras at Colorado State University in 2003. Named in 2004 to an additional post as Music Director of Opera Fort Collins, he currently conducts professional and collegiate operatic productions as well as numerous orchestra concerts and dance performances each season throughout Northern Colorado. In 2013, he was named Music Director of the Denver Young Artist Orchestra—the premier youth orchestra of Colorado—and this past June made his Carnegie Hall debut. Kenney and the DYAO were awarded the prestigious American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award in 2016.
Wes Kenney’s performances, described by reviewers as “beautiful and exciting,” “lively and stylish,” and “first-rate” have raised the level of the Fort Collins Symphony to one of the premier regional orchestras in the west. He was awarded the First Prize in the 2007 Varna International Conducting Competition and continues to be in demand as a guest conductor. Mr. Kenney’s recent guest conducting activities include the Colorado Music Festival, Lafayette (IN) Symphony, Acadian (LA) Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Denver Philharmonic, International guest conducting includes performances with the Vidin State Philharmonic and Stara Zagora Opera Company in Bulgaria, the Edinburgh (Scotland) Music Festival, and the East China Normal University Symphony in Shanghai. He has also appeared with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Alabama Symphony, New Mexico Symphony, Virginia Symphony, the Richmond Symphony, Savannah Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, and the Dubuque Symphony.
Former positions include Associate Conductor of the Virginia Symphony, Music Director of the Oakland Youth Orchestra, and faculty conducting positions with the College of William and Mary as well as San Francisco State University. Named Educator of the Year by the Colorado Chapter of the American String Teachers Association in 2008, Mr. Kenney has always sought out opportunities to work with talented young people. He has been a Guest Conductor with the Alabama, New Mexico, and Virginia All-State Orchestras and served as Music Director of the Oakland Youth Orchestra for five seasons. In April he will perform with the New Hampshire All-State orchestra in an all-American concert of Gershwin and Los Angeles composer Michael Abels.
Mr. Kenney is a graduate of the University of Southern California and San Francisco State University and was awarded the prestigious Carmen Dragon Conducting Prize in 1992. Additional studies include a year at the Vienna Hochschule fur Musik, three years as a fellow at the Conductors Institute, several American Symphony Orchestra League and Conductors Guild Workshops, and the Sandpoint Festival. His teachers include Harold Farberman, Hans Beer, Gunther Schuller, Hans Swarovsky and Miltiardes Carides.