Kenji Bunch

composer, viola

Kenji Bunch uses his work as a composer and performer to look for commonalities between musical traditions, for understandings that transcend cultural or generational barriers, and for empathic connections with his listeners. Mr. Bunch draws on vernacular musical traditions, his interest in history, the natural world, and his classical training to create new concert music with a unique personal vocabulary that appeals to performers, audiences, and critics alike. After nearly three decades as a professional musician, whose work has been performed by over sixty American orchestras, by chamber musicians on six continents, and has been recorded numerous times, he considers his mission to be the continuing search for and celebration of shared emotional truths about the human experience.

Mr. Bunch maintains an active performing career, and is widely recognized for performing his own groundbreaking works for viola. In the ongoing search for fluency in other musical styles, he developed a deep interest in vernacular American music and improvisation. Mr. Bunch was the fiddle player and vocalist with the band Citigrass for over 15 years, and is a frequent collaborator with jazz, pop, folk, country, rock, and experimental musicians. He has also collaborated extensively with choreographers and filmmakers.

A graduate of the Juilliard School, Mr. Bunch left New York City after 22 memorable years to return to his native Portland, Oregon, where he currently serves as Artistic Director of new music group Fear No Music, and teaches at Portland State University, Reed College, and for the Portland Youth Philharmonic.