100 Colorado Creatives: Conrad Kehn
#75: Conrad Kehn
The opening sentence of Conrad Kehn's professional bio kind of says it all: "Conrad Kehn is a composer, improviser, performer, educator, writer and artist." But that's the glib definition of a guy who, under the skin of his basic vita, is hellbent on spreading the joy of making and sharing and being a part of music that is sometimes difficult, all while never assuming that any audience is too dumb -- or immature -- to appreciate it.
- Soundpaint with Walter Thompson and the Playground tonight at the Auraria campus
- With its Mile High Voltage Festival, the Newman Center makes classical music more accessible to the masses
- 100 Colorado Creatives: Mark McCoin
He's led or collaborated with classical ensembles, experimental and improvisatory groups, multimedia artists, rock bands and avant-garde marching bands, but his heart seems to lie with the modern music ensemble known as the Playground. As this year's Playground season draws to a close, the group will host its seventh annual Colorado Composers Concert (CoCoCo7), which -- true to its name -- features works by a cross-section of locals, including some talented youth composers.
CoCoCo is at 7:30 p.m. April 27 at the King Center on the Auraria campus; tickets, ranging from $5 to $10 (MSU students will be admitted free with student ID), are available online in advance from the King Center box office.
Kehn is also a thoughtful guy with a lot of good ideas about how to not just present new music to the public, but also bring the public, and especially kids, to the music. That's an important job in a canned technological world, and we wanted to know more about it, so we asked Kehn to take our 100CC quiz. Read on for his thoughts on getting people, youngsters included, involved in the business of making music.
Westword: If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Conrad Kehn: I want to make an album with Ron Miles, Janet Feder and David Eugene Edwards. I think the songs we'd write would be something special. That isn't very historical, is it? I tend to think forward, not back.
There are a lot of people in history that I'd like to study with or drink coffee with, or, if I was still in my twenties, get hammered with, but I wouldn't want to force them into some kind of awkward collaboration. Stravinsky, e.e. cummings, Modigliani.... It'd be cool to be verbally abused by drunken deaf Beethoven for a few minutes; Mingus, too. Jackson Pollack sounds like a good time. I love Nick Cave, but can't imagine what he would need me for. Stockhausen, Cage.... I'd like to hear Judas's side of the story.
Continue reading for more from Conrad Kehn.