Kevin Laskey is a composer, percussionist, and music writer based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When he was in middle school, Kevin wrote an essay comparing his two favorite musicians, Aaron Copland and Buddy Rich (noting superficial similarities, like how they led bands with sticks, and slightly less superficial ones, like dramatic contrasts in mood). Not only was this Kevin’s first foray into music criticism, but it also led to his modus operandi—bridging the gaps between seemingly disparate musical traditions.
Kevin’s compositions live in a netherworld between notated concert music and more vernacular styles, drawing from classical, jazz, and American folk idioms alike. He has written for many acclaimed artists, including, PRISM Quartet, Yarn/Wire, the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, So Percussion, Daedalus Quartet, Warp Trio, Bearthoven, Exceptet, trombonist Ray Anderson, pianist Amy Williams, and The San Francisco Choral Artists, in addition to composing for film and theater. His most recent project is Almanac, an evening-length work for vocalists and improvisers, featuring Warp Trio, the Kevin Sun Quartet, and Variant 6.
As a percussionist, Kevin has worked closely with composers Anthony Davis, Eve Beglarian, Ted Hearne, and Laurie Altman on genre-bending works with drum set, and has performed on the premieres of large-scale pieces by David Lang, John Luther Adams, and Dan Trueman. In 2011, Kevin was featured as a marimba soloist with the Princeton University Orchestra, performing Ney Rosauro’s Concerto for Marimba & String Orchestra. Kevin continues to play in a variety of improvising groups in and around New York and Philadelphia.
Kevin holds a PhD in music composition from the University Pennsylvania, an MA in music composition from Stony Brook University, and a BA in music from Princeton University, where he was awarded the Edward R. Cone award in music, and the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. His teachers have included Anna Weesner, James Primosch, Peter Winkler, Margaret Schedel, and Dan Trueman. He teaches music theory & aural skills at West Chester University and musical theater orchestration through the Princeton University Triangle Club.
Kevin is also a public radio junkie, having interned for NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered program, hosted by Guy Raz. He is the editor and podcast host of Jazz Speaks, the official blog of The Jazz Gallery, one of New York’s premiere venues for new improvised music.