Mike Kennedy began playing guitar at the age of eight. By the 7th grade, Mike was working within a group dynamic in both bands and ensembles, playing guitar and bass, and also began exploring composition. Mike's first exposure to Jazz occurred when he heard Johnny Smith's Moonlight in Vermont. He was captivated by the introspective and complex sound which challenged his own musical development. It was not until high school that Mike took a few jazz lessons and, upon hearing Joe Pass on Virtuoso #2, Mike knew that he had found his medium in jazz guitar.
Mike's formal education in jazz guitar was completed at the University of the Arts, College of Performing Arts, in Philadelphia where he received both his Bachelors Degree in Jazz Guitar and his Masters Degree in Jazz Studies. With the ethic that a firm musical foundation expands his ability to absorb, contemplate and create, Mike studied with, among others, Jimmy Bruno, Larry McKenna, Bob DiNardo, Joe Federico, and Allan Slutsky.
Mike has been teaching guitar for over 17 years. He currently teaches jazz guitar, performance, composition, ensembles, and computer classes designed for music. Mike also writes compositions and plays, both locally in Philadelphia, PA and in the surrounding tri-state region. Over the past few years, Mike has had the opportunity to perform with such renowned Philadelphia jazz musicians as Larry McKenna and John Swana and has also has performed with commercially known international pop artists such as Lou Rawls, Michael Feinstein, Bernadette Peters, and Elton John. Throughout his education and career, Mike has performed and created compositions in various musical genres from jazz to rock and R&B, but over the past decade, he has focused almost exclusively on jazz. Mike identified with the rhythmic complexity of jazz music, the wit and perception of improvisation and the dichotomy between the spontaneity of the individual and the communication within a group.
With a sound based in the bebop tradition, yet with a definite modern presence, Mike collected a series of ten tunes for his first self-produced jazz CD, Quartet No. 1, which was released in late 2002. The album received exceptional reviews that praise both the compositions and the musicians. The CD has had airplay in the Philadelphia area, as well as overseas. Mike is presently in the process of releasing his new album, Idle Afternoon, consisting of 8 original tunes. Mike was also recently selected for inclusion in the Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour (PennPAT) Roster. Funding may be available through PennPAT to support performance engagements with presenters in DC, DE, MD, NJ, OH, PA, VA, WV and the US Virgin Islands.
Class Schedule, Fall 2014
|W||04:00PM - 04:50PM||Guitar Class for Non-Majors|
|T||01:00PM - 02:50PM||Sm Jazz Ens: Ambient|
|-||Applied Instruction Non-Majors|
|-||Major Lessons - Instrumental|