The Making Of Walden

July 3rd, 2014 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Walden No Responses

Excerpts from ‘THE MAKING OF WALDEN’

…as appearing in ‘WIND & WIRE Magazine (Nov/Dec and Jan/Feb issues, 1998)

“This is ‘Solitude’s Companion’ take number one,” says Konrad Strauss, recording engineer, from the control room of Studio Five at Chicago Recording Studio. His voice is calm and even.
I’m sitting at a seven foot Boesendorfer, the Rolls Royce of pianos, in the same studios in which The Smashing Pumpkins, Sting, and Michael Jackson have recorded their Platinum albums. And here I sit, in the most quiet room I’ve ever experienced, collecting my thoughts, — not nervous, but somehow numb — ready to break the silence with the notes that will become my first CD, WALDEN.
It’s been just four months since I started working on this recording project, yet it seems like I’ve been working forever. In April 1997, my employer shut its doors. Instead of rushing back into the job market, I take the time to record the CD I had been mulling over the last several years. I had written music for two independent films and for musical theatre concluding with a staged reading of my full-length piece, Rock That Town (with book/lyric writer Chuck Mitchell) in Chicago 1996. While my theatre work had been rewarding, I had been nurturing the idea of melding the New Age sentiments of peace and repose with a more classical composition approach. Whether or not it had any commercial potential, I wanted to try out this notion of a “New Age Classical” style by writing an opus and recording it to CD.
I allot four months to do the CD. This meant doing everything from composing through recording, editing, and mastering the disc. The start date would be May 1, 1997, and I hoped to be done and have a master off to duplication by September 1st.
…In this first month, I hadn’t settled the overall theme of the disk, although there was a strong nature element in the music, and — I felt — a slightly intellectual thread that I was trying to develop. I knew that the music was forming itself into something, but I couldn’t quite yet make it out. I had to be patient, despite the gnawing little voice in my head that kept reminding me of each passing day. I decided the best approach was to continue pushing ahead, and that the theme would identify itself to me soon.
June, month two, arrived quickly and suddenly logistics issues needed attention. I had decided to try recording the CD at home. I have a small home studio and a dark brooding hand-built Petrof grand piano that I love. I’d read a lot about recording pianos and knew that it was a difficult task, but was determined to at least try. I rented microphones and began experimenting. Soon there were pillows, blankets and sound absorbing material all over the living room as I tried to get control over the live acoustics. Finally I had the best setup I could get and recorded some sample takes.
I was disappointed. The best sound I recorded delivered a nice upper midrange, but the lower mids were always muddy, the highs were unrealistically bell-like. After some last experimentation, I realized that I’d need to find a real studio with a piano I could relate to, one that didn’t have that overly bright, pop sound I was trying to avoid. But where to go?
…Call it serendipity, but while waiting for an elevator outside the studio, I run into a composer who has been mixing a jingle while I was trying out the Yamaha. I ask if he knows of other studios that have a top notch piano. He mentions that Chicago Recording Company (CRC) has several grands. The studio is about a mile away, so I decide to walk there and ‘cold call’ the studio.
Hank Neuberger, the General Manager, greets me after a short wait and he lets me audition both of their pianos on the spot. First, I try a Steinway that sounds harsh and feels like a piano that has had a lot of rock and roll use. Then he takes me up to Studio Five and seats me at a seven foot Boesendoefer. I’ve never played a Boesendoefer before, but as soon as I play I know this is the instrument for this project. The piano sings beautifully, and it focuses a melody line like a laser focuses light. The piano is well mannered and I love it.
There is more good news. The studio can make available an engineer who really complements the project. His name is Konrad Strauss, and he has both classical and new age credentials. He has recorded the Chicago Symphony, Itzak Pearlman, as well as Mannheim Steamroller and Jim Brinkman. The price is going to be higher, but for the opportunity it seems worthwhile. We set tentative dates for late July.
Finally, as another result of my internet research, I track down Trevor Sadler. I came upon Trevor after hearing the work of Kostia — a Narada pianist I’d heard on a recent piano compilation. From the compilation, I had bought Kostia’s ‘St. Petersburg Suite,’ and Trevor was one of the engineers. Using the internet, I find some of his newsgroup posts and it turns out he now is Narada’s mastering engineer. We get acquianted and after some discussion, Trevor agrees to do the mastering for the project. Thus my engineering team is set.
While all this excitement is happening, not much music is getting written. After the initial spurt, both the productivity and focus of my writing has declined. At one point I spend eight days on one piece that finally I abandon altogether. This is definitely a low point. The music is too abstract, I’m losing perspective. ……
…Breakthrough: during the time off I find my idea of the CD: Thoreau’s Walden. Based on the book by Henry David Thoreau, Walden is a perfect context for the music. Rich in its love of nature, Thoreau also challenges his readers with ideas of individual responsibility and authenticity. For me, the book both motivates me back to work and inspires new musical ideas.
I revise the recording dates at CRC for three days starting August 15 and am back in business. I start writing again, this time with renewed focus and intensity. I am letting my hair grow. I am not shaving. I am limiting my exercise to the short walk between the piano and my home studio. I sometimes forget to shower. I am staying up late and getting up early. It is July and I have a lot of work to do.
In this span of three weeks, I work with a fury. I rewrite one of the pieces as a guitar duet. I write six new pieces. I rehearse with my duetists. I practice my solo work. I revise, revise, revise. I meet with Konrad for a planning session. CRC grants me practice time on the Boesendorfer. My family is calling me “Wolfie,” and my two boys are either humming something I’m working on, or complaining bitterly about hearing it again for the n’th time (but impressed that the Smashing Pumpkins recorded in the same studio I’m headed for…)
Finally, the day arrives, and its time to start recording. I wish I’d had more time to revise and rehearse — but then, that probably would be true forever. It’s time. Konrad has just announced ‘take one’ and I’m sitting at the keyboard of this wonderful piano, trying to perform well for these microphones, for some abstract audience…, for myself. And then I begin with the first notes of ‘Solitude’s Companion’ feeling a bit alone, a little scared, and a lot curious about how this adventure is going to turn out.
END OF PART I.

Ken, guitarist Jeff Kust and engineer Konrad Strauss assessing a take at CRC

Ken, guitarist Jeff Kust and engineer Konrad Strauss

START OF PART II.

I have arrived at Chicago Recording Studio at 5:30pm on August 15 for the first of three six-hour recording sessions for my first CD, Walden, after the book by Henry David Thoreau. Each session is to be separated by one day off. Session one and two are planned for recording solo work, session three reserved for the duets I will be performing with guitarist Jeff Kust and cellist Martine Benmann. I have never played in a recording studio.
Studio Five has three recording areas of varying acoustical qualities. Recording engineer Konrad Strauss tries out a multitude of mic and piano placements while I play. After about ninety long minutes, we finally agree on a simple placement that gives a nice balanced picture of the sound. Konrad has recommended using Schoep mics into Apogee 20-bit preamp converters. The output of the converters goes into a DAT machine, bypassing the converters in the DAT. This approach is to yield a superior quality sound, giving better headroom and greater warmth than going straight to DAT.
The studio is eerily quiet, like one would imagine in deep space, as if all sound has somehow been sucked out. It is somewhat distracting, and one result is that suddenly every small noise I’ve never noticed takes on enormous import. The piano bench creaks, the sustain pedal squeaks, the dampers fall to the strings louder than I’ve ever heard — or at least noticed — before.
The stress of all the microphone auditioning already has me feeling slightly tired and by the time we’re actually ready to record, I’m not so much nervous, as somehow numb. I’m wondering where that moment of performance inspiration is. There’s adrenaline, but its not the energy of the muse whispering in my ear. I’m struck by the brute fact of the work before me. As I start playing in that first take, I find myself more conscious of notes, and less focused on music. When I finish the first take, Konrad says from the control room, “Nicely done.” But upon auditioning the take I don’t like it at all — it sounds mousy and careful.
I’ll struggle with this for the next four hours. I’m playing the music accurately enough, but it feels like defensive playing, it is playing to not make mistakes. I’ve been a rehearsal pianist and accompanist for vocalists and have seen how the live performance can sometimes take away a singer’s range as they retreat into a safe zone, a competent zone, a studied zone. That’s where I am now, but I’m pushing myself to break over that edge, knowing that once I get there my music will sing itself. The sound vacuum phenomenon breaks an essential feedback loop, stealing away the overtones and natural resonance. It feels like I am walking in the dark.
Around 10pm, we hit a breakthrough. With just the slightest intensity change in his eternally calm, neutral voice, Konrad scolds me to ‘go for it’ on ‘Quiet Desperation.’ During the take I feel like I’m overplaying, but when we listen to the take it’s clear that this is the right direction to push. The last couple of hours of this session become more fun and rewarding. By the end of the session, I wish we were continuing into the night. I nail a take of ‘Different Drummer’ — one of the toughest pieces — from beginning to end.
Its 12:30 am and we call it a night.
At home the next day, I listen to the tapes and begin to make ‘take notes.’ I document everything so I am clear on what must be re-recorded, and what would be nice to have a second chance at. I mark up copies of the scores for Konrad. It is a laborious process because its difficult to compare takes in detail. I spend ten hours of my ‘day off’ doing this analysis and planning.
Session two is more surgical. We start by ‘covering’ the mandatory sections of the music that must be re-recorded. In some cases, the material might simply be a small section or a few bars of a particular piece. In most cases, we record at least one fresh full take of everything, and Konrad makes notes on how we covered the mandatory re-record sections from that. My tempi seem to be consistent from one take to another, but I am amazed at how different the coloring of the piano sounds when compared to the prior session. Konrad says I’m playing more relaxed today and he can hear it in the tone of the piano.
The takes from session two become the base for most of the solo material on the CD. Moreover, later, during editing, I will find myself choosing takes from one day’s session or the other. The color and tonality between the two sessions are usually just too different to intermix.
Session three was the most fun, playing duets with two outstanding, but very different musicians. Russian cellist Martine Benmann warms up slowly and deliberately. We’ve rehearsed twice and she asks highly detailed questions about my intent, makes good suggestions, and helps me refine the bowing. She dislikes the ideas of recording too many takes, and is distrustful of the idea of editing — assembling a performance from multiple takes. As a result our session is intense, but short — about seventy-five minutes. There is a feeling of high stakes when we play, but each performance of ‘Uncommon Hour‘ — which uses thematic material from Bach — is a musically interesting adventure which was different every time.
Guitarist Jeff Kust has played with the Chicago Symphony and is an experienced session player. He is relaxed and business-like. ‘Waltz in the Woods‘ is probably the most fun and most difficult piece on the disk. Jeff plays superbly. We do a few full takes and then start working our way through section by section. During editing, two of the full takes will serve as ‘base’ takes and we edit in this ‘cover’ material where necessary.
Finally the duets are completed, and I spend an hour doing improvisations. I’m tired, but also relaxed and just let the mfusic flow out of me. While I don’t need more material, I’m hoping to find something spontaneous that will complement the overall ‘New Age Classical’ feel of the compositions. At the end of the hour, I feel a finality and satisfaction. It is nice to get to that special place of just playing and expressing feelings of peace and repose. In the end, I use two of the improvs, which are called ‘Perpetual Dawn’ and ‘Behind the Farthest Star.’
Its 1am at the end of session three and both Konrad and I are exhausted. Konrad was just a vast resource to me like a guide taking me up the Northern face of Everest. One of the challenges of a self-produced CD is to hear yourself as objectively as possible during the recording process. Konrad really served as my surrogate producer in the studio and his high musician standards, gentle prodding, and encouragement were a great asset.
The final stage of the project is editing and mastering. The day after session three, I work through all the takes and organize my notes into an edit list. For my project, this is a very detailed process. The amount of editing really comes down to how many takes there are, and in some cases I had twenty or thirty takes of material. I listen to all of these takes, arrive at the ones I like best and note them by measure and time marking.
The next day I drive to Milwaukee in the evening to meet with Trevor Sadler, Narada’s mastering engineer. Trevor has mastered #1 records and his recordings have been nominated for (and won) Grammies. Narada’s offices are in a quaint former school building, crisp and Northern European in appearance. We go to his mastering studio, a standard 10×10 office with sound proofing. His equipment is fairly unassuming but of high quality: a Macintosh running Sonic Solutions Audio workstation, a tube compressor, a digital effects processor, and a DAT machine are the main equipment.
We begin by loading takes into the computer system, using an analog process of passing the sound through the tube compressor and then sampling the result back into digital form — again using 20-bit Apogee converters. Once captured in the Sonic Solutions system, Trevor is able to manipulate the digital information in a variety of ways using sophisticated cross-fading tools that make most edits impossible to hear.
The editing process is tedious. Trevor and I team up, me identifying the portions of music to be used, and their general edit points, and he carrying out the magic of the edit, choosing the best algorithms and the specific point at which to make the cut. Overall, we edit for about fourteen hours over three evenings.
After the editing is completed, we continue on to the final mastering steps. We identify the exact start points of each track, the end point, the fade out strategies for each track, as well as decide on the length of gaps between tracks. Once that is done, we audition, discuss and decide on the appropriate processing and levels for each track. In the case of this project, we use a variety of digital reverb touches. My taste is to want bigger reverb spaces than Trevor. Ultimately, after taking home the premaster CD and listening to it for several days, I eventually arrive at the same conclusion as Trevor’s original recommendation and we do a new, this time final version of the premaster with less reverb. Trevor demonstrated great patience and musicality in his approach to the material. I can see why many Narada recordings are highly regarded technically.
Of course, the writing and recording of the CD is just half the story — the other half is the marketing and sales side. I’m in the middle of executing my marketing plan now, and this too is a busy time. Whatever the outcome, however, I’m already a winner. I’ve been lucky to have a safe period of time to compose, the support of my family while I did it, and terrific professionals with which to work. I am grateful to all of them. It has been a roller coaster ride and not always a smooth or comfortable one. It was intense, it was at times difficult, but overall, when I think about doing it again, just one thing comes to mind:

Walden II.

Whisperings Radio – Now Playing

July 3rd, 2014 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views, Walden No Responses

Deja Views and Walden have been added to the play list at Whisperings Radio. Whisperings is one of David Nevue’s projects to bring together the ‘New Age’ piano community. It is a great project and I am glad to be a part of it.

I’m looking forward to playing at the annual All-Star Concert and Awards Ceremony one of these days.

Walden in Korea

July 20th, 2013 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Walden No Responses

Out of the blue, I was contacted by a music distribution company in Korea. They wanted to distribute WALDEN in Korea. At first, I thought it was some kind of spam, but after checking references and agreeing on terms, it turns out it was a serious company with track record.

They distribute in the remaining Korean brick-and-mortar dedicated music stores (ala the now-defunct Borders, which was the biggest distributor of Deja Views). They also are distributor for electronic versions of the two records in Korea outside of iTunes.

The price appears to be 13,400 won, which is a relatively reasonable $11.95. It includes the original artwork and the Thoreau quotes on which the compositions are based.

Walden CD in Korean

Walden CD in Korean

 

Deja Views and Walden now on Spotify

June 8th, 2013 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views, Walden No Responses

One of the interesting new radio-like music sites is Spotify. It’s an easy way to check out either Deja Views or Walden. You can also search on ‘Ken Pedersen’ to bring up the page.

Interesting I have no idea how they got on there…

Music

May 25th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views, Overview, Walden No Responses
Music

I began composing music in the mid 1990’s as an outlet and avocation. Here’s a summary of my work.

WALDEN

In 1997, I set myself to record a CD based on Walden, authored by Henry David Thoreau. I had no commercial aspirations and the music I think shows it. The CD is reflective, introverted and generally not too interested in impressing the listener. My goal was to follow where the ideas might lead. Many of the tracks are based on improvisations I reworked into through-written pieces complete with written score.

Walden CD cover

Ken Pedersen’s Walden was released in 1998

Walden was released in 1998 on my own label Symark Records. I decided to send it out to some of the prominent (at the time) New Age publications and reviewers. I was surprised to find a good reception. In short order I had a distributor for the alternative music and book store market and received some nice published notices. Subsequently I received a good amount of alternative radio play as well. Walden was noticed enough to be named on the ‘Top 50 CDs of the Year’ by Backroads, and it made a brief appearance on the New Age Voice music charts. Walden found a niche in the Thoreau community and is still sold at the Shop at Walden Pond.  I was invited there to give a concert based on my Thoreau improvisations which was a highlight of the whole adventure.

With the positive feedback I was receiving, I decided to composed and record a second CD which I called Deja Views. The idea was to take well know claasical tunes as a basic for each track and to explore them in a New Age sensibility. Given that I had gotten some modest commercial success, my goals for the project included exploring if I might be able to open more commercial doors with this recording. Recordings like the Mozart Effect were doing well and the using of classical themes like those from Pachelbel were a familiar way to engage an audience.

Deja Views CD cover

Ken Pedersen’s Deja Views was released in 1999

DEJA VIEWS

With Deja Views, I used acoustic samples to accompany my piano and also collaborated with Judy Stone on cello for two of the tracks. There are more upbeat tracks (for new age music, that is) and in general the music is a bit more outgoing. Indeed the CD did find an audience. It was in the Top 10 on the NAV charts for six months, charted as high as #3 and appeared on NAV for nearly a year. My distributor was able to place Deja Views in many of the music chains including Borders and Tower Records nationally.

The record also was popular with radio, with over 600 stations playing it. I was featured on a number of programs and even had recorded audio FAQ on which I recorded answers so that radio hosts could conduct a virtual simulated interview with me. This was played in Chicago, Cleveland and on the Voice of America radio among other stations. In recent years, both Deja Views and Walden have been picked up by digital radio, with DMX and Sirius among its biggest recurring players.

The attention this CD received led to some discussions with several New Age labels that had international distribution, but they didn’t come together. Record stores were feeling the impact of digital competition. They started reducing SKUs and New Age music was one of the first to be cut deeply. Luckily, Amazon.com makes it possible to offer both the physical and digital versions of the music, not to forget the impact of itunes as well.

The Heart Aid Project was released in 2002

Ken Pedersen’s ‘The Dance Left Behind’ was included in the Heart Aid Project

Heart Aid Project

In 2002, I was invited to contribute a track to a compilation by the name of The Heart Aid Project. The CD was part of a fund-raiser for 9/11 survivors. Other composers include great names like Ray Lynch (“Deep Breakfast”), John Boswell (“Trust”) and Robin Spielberg, Michael Hoppe, Suzanne Ciana, and Windham Hill’s Ira Stein. The project was put together by Spring Hill.

Chicago Tribune Deja Views Concert 1999

May 18th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views No Responses

Here is the Chicago Tribune story about my 1999 concert in which I invited talented Glenbard South musicians to join me on stage. Click here for a rehearsal picture.

Walden Reviews

April 8th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Walden No Responses

New Age Voice, April 1998

Pedersen draws his inspiration for this album directly from the famous book by the same name written by Thoreau. His piano breathes life into the writer’s passages, like the quiet rippling of the wind on the surface of the water with the sunlight dancing off of its sparkling in the morning.

Listen to the wind in the trees and the birds flying among them singing. And then we get to the place where joy so overwhelms the man who appreciates the beauty of nature that he is freespirited to dance in the woods alone, making his own melodies and rhythms from all the life surrounding him.

This is an album which is played with simple, yet expressive structures. His notes and chords convey the impressions of the simple pleasures of a day in the woods without any special effects, just elegant and well played melodies.

-Dan Liss

* * *

New Age Retailer, March 1998

Rarely has an artist-owned label released such beautifully packaged, soundly themed, and perfectly produced music. Using Thoreau’s devotion to the wildwoods area known as Walden as a means of melding natural and philosophical themes, solo pianist Pedersen has lovingly crafted an utterly gorgeous selection of pastoral melodies that engender deep feelings of tranquillity and repose.

It’s amazing he can actually play keyboards at all, since part of one of his fingers was amputated in a skill saw accident. “It was a miracle that only one finger was hurt,” he notes, and attributes his admirably inventive performance style to having to “get creative” in order to share the melodies he often hears in dreams. Beginning with a motif or improvisation, Pedersen then composes the formal elements using classical principles of development. He says “the result is easy to enjoy, while providing substance for those who want to look deeper. Tracks like ‘Solitude’s Companion’ and ‘Simplicity’s Prayer’ are about as New Age as you can get, while the ‘Uncommon Hour’ (a duet with Russian cellist Martine Benmann) has an added classical underpinning. I believe there is an audience out there that hungers for the next step in musical refinement in a New Age package. I hope they see my music as that step.”

A philosophy major who became an Assistant Visiting Professor at Purdue University, Pedersen went on to write three books, two film scores, and numerous compositions for musical theatre. Recently retired as President of the Glen Ellyn District 89 school board, Pedersen notes “We get so focused on careers, sometimes we let our own well being get swept away in society’s tidal wave. It takes true bravery to value one’s family and oneself enough to act against that tide. That was a key point for Thoreau’s philosophy.”

-P J Birosik

* * *

NAPRA Review, Spring 1998

While the title of this album may be a bit hackneyed for our market, the performance of these brilliant solo piano compositions certainly is not. Each piece is a gem of repose and response to nature, hence “Walden.” The cover is a photograph of water with leaves floating on it, a la Monet’s mural “Nymphias” — quite lovely — and the liner notes are heavily sprinkled with Thoreau’s more famous and pertinent quotes. A sure sell to the solo piano market, New Age or classical.

-Peggy Randall

* * *

Wind & Wire Magazine, November 1997

From the first notes on his debut recording, Walden, Ken Pedersen makes it clear that this listening experience will be one of warmth, understated drama, and poignant beauty. Ken involves the listener emotionally via his heartfelt compositions and expressive playing.

The first two cuts (which are indicative of the majority of Walden), ‘Simplicity’s Prayer,’ and ‘The Leavetaking,’ are slower numbers in the vein of George Winston’s impressionism, but the compositions are, at times, less minimalist than Winston can be at times. Even after just two songs, it’s evident that great care has been taken in this making this CD. The piano sounds less ‘bright’ than it does on some solo releases. The result for me was that I turned my receiver up farther than normal. However, when I did, the sound quality was very lifelike.

Ken sometimes lightens the mood and speeds up the tempo, such as on ‘Day at Walden Pond’ which brings to mind images of sunny autumn walks in the woods. Ken’s playing is much less ‘pop’ structured than someone like Jim Chappell (which is no knock on Jim – read my review of Acadia in issue one for proof of that). It’s definitely a more tone-poem compositional process. Overall, the album strikes a subdued and reflective note but seldom, if ever, a melancholic one. That’s obvious on ‘Neighbor to the Birds,’ a jaunty (but not demonstrably so) and light-hearted piece that, at times, has a very classical sound to it.

Ken collaborates with other musicians on two songs. ‘A Waltz in the Woods,’ features Jeff Kust’s acoustic guitar. This song is a bit of a departure from the remainder of the album. Here the sound is almost Baroque sounding as Ken and Jeff play off each other in a spirited fashion. The song has an edge to it that flirts with mystery but usually comes closer to playfulness.

Cellist Martine Benmann lends her able support to ‘Uncommon Hour’ and her cello is right out front, not hidden in the background. If the song sounds classical to you, it should. It’s based on the Prelude from J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G Minor for Unaccompanied Cello, except the cello is accompanied here. If you dislike classical music, this song may not go down well with you. Personally, I liked it.

Ken did a nice job on the details, too, like the liner notes (quotes from Thoreau’s writings), front and back cover artwork (quite beautiful, actually, in my opinion) and overall graphic layout of the insert. One would have a hard time perceiving this as an artist’s recording debut. Walden is as accomplished a CD as you’re likely to hear this year.

-Bill Binkleman

Walden Radio Programming

April 8th, 2012 by Ken Categories: Walden No Responses

Syndicated Programs

  • Canal Plus Television
  • Dish CD
  • DMX Radio Network
  • Music For Peace
  • CKUA Radio Network
  • Music Choice (24 hr. satellite channel)
  • ‘The Morning Program’ Minn. Public Radio
  • Acoustic Digest
  • Into the Mystic

 

Alaska

  • Ketchikan/KRBD
  • Bethel/KYUK
  • Kodiak/KMXT
  • Nome/KNOM
  • Valdez/KCHU
  • Fairbanks/KUAC
  • Anchorage/KNBA

 

Arkansas

  • State University/KASU #1!!!
  • Jonesboro/KABF

 

Arizona

  • Tucson/KXCI

 

California

  • Fresno/KFRF
  • Santa Rosa/KWMR
  • Talmage/KZYX
  • Talmage/KZYZ
  • South Lake Tahoe/KTHO
  • Nevada City/KVMR
  • Mission Viejo/KSBR
  • Redondo Beach/KCLA
  • Berkeley/KPFA
  • Eureka/KQEX
  • Citrus Heights/KSSJ
  • Turlock/KCSS
  • Sacramento/KCBL
  • ·

Canada

  • Edmonton/CKUA
  • Maniwaki/CHGA
  • CKUA Radio Network

 

Colorado

  • Ignacio/KSUT
  • Aspen/KDNK

Colorado (cont.)

  • Denver/KHIH

 

Connecticut

  • Monroe/WMNR
  • Shelton/WRXC
  • Kent/WGSK
  • Guilford/WGRS

 

Delaware

  • Newark/WVUD

 

Florida

  • Melbourne/WFIT
  • Naples/WGUF
  • Tallahassee/WAMF

 

Hawaii

  • Kaapa/KUAI

 

Idaho

  • Rexburg/KRIC
  • Boise/KBSU
  • Boise/KBSX

 

Illinois

  • Carbondale/WDBX
  • Chicago/WOUI
  • Glen Ellyn/WDCB

 

Indiana

  • Fort Wayne/WBNI
  • Indianapolis/WICR (1.8 million listeners!)

 

Iowa

  • Davenport/KALA
  • Cedar Rapids/KCCK
  • Burlington/KCPS
  • ·

Kansas

  • Garden City/KANZ

 

Kentucky

  • Bowling Green/WKYU
  • ·

Louisana

  • Monroe/KEDM

 

Maryland

  • Towson/WTMD

 

Massachusetts

  • Cambridge/WMBR (One hour feature!)
  • Medford/WMFO
  • Manchaug/WCUW
  • Worchester/WICN
  • Provincetown/WOMR

 

Michigan

  • Grand Rapids/WFRG

 

Minnesota

  • Duluth/KUMD

 

Missouri

  • Cape Girardeau/KRCU
  • Kansas City/KCUR

 

Mississippi

  • Hattiesburg/WUSM

 

Nebraska

  • Lincoln/KZUM
  • Lincoln/KUCV

 

New Hampshire

  • Durham/WUNH
  • Keene/WKNH
  • New London/WSCS
  • Plymouth/WPCR

 

New Mexico

  • Portales/KMTH
  • Portales/KENW
  • Socorro/KTEK
  • Gallup/KGLP  #2!
  • Las Cruces/KRWG

 

New York

  • Binghamton/WSKG
  • Syracuse/WAER
  • North Salem/WXCI
  • West Point/WKDT
  • White Plains/WFAS
  • Staten Island/WSIA
  • Poughkepsie/WVKR
  • New Palz/WFNP

 

North Carolina

  • Roanoke Rapids/WZRU
  • Fayetteville/WFSS

 

North Dakota

  • Fargo/KDSU

 

Oklahoma

  • Norman/KGOU
  • Stillwater/KOSU

 

Ohio

  • Ada/WONB
  • Kent/WKSU

 

Oregon

  • Grants Pass/KRRM
  • Portland/KOPM (1.9 million listeners!)
  • McMinnville/KSLC

 

Pennsylvania

  • Catasauqua/WDIY
  • Pittsburgh/WYEP

 

Rhode Island

  • Newport/WADK

 

South Carolina

  • Greenville/WMUU

 

South Dakota

  • Canton/KAUR
  • Brookings/KESD

 

Tennessee

  • Henderson/WFHC
  • Memphis/WKNO
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Wind and Wire Deja Views Review

April 8th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views No Responses

Review of Deja Views

Wind & Wire Magazine

April ’99

 

Ken Pedersen

Deja Views

Symark Records/1999

New Acoustic

 

Ken Pedersen has taken inspiration from twelve well-known classical pieces and created original works from them. This is a little audacious when you think about it, but Pedersen has created a real masterpiece! I expected actual arrangements of the various classics, but most tracks only hint of their original sources, and the new compositions are fresh and contemporary. This isn’t ‘Switched-On Bach ‘99’ by any stretch of the imagination! Several of the pieces are augmented with synth instrumentation, two are duets with cellist Judy Stone, and several were improvised in the studio to reflect Pedersen’s performing style. I’ve been hearing some incredible piano CDs lately, but this one rises right to the top.

The ‘inspirations’ come from all eras of piano music from Bach and Handel to Philip Glass, and the titles reflect significant moments in life. There are several favorite selections, but ‘Quest’ is such a soaring and yet gently flowing duet for piano and cello that I think it’s my top pick; its inspiration came from a rhythmic pattern used by Glass. Another real stand-out is the lively ‘Mind Candy’, inspired by the Shaker melody, ‘Simple Gifts’ – a joyous romp for piano and wind quartet that reminds me a little of Ray Lynch’s ‘Celestial Soda Pop’ in its buoyancy. I had doubts that anyone could bring anything new to the Pachelbel ‘Canon’, so ‘Reunion’ was a delightful surprise! ‘Autumn Rose’ is also a fun discovery with Pedersen’s joining of MacDowell’s ‘To a Wild Rose’ and Foster’s Oh Susanna’! The two themes run in and out of Pedersen’s piano improvisation and work perfectly together. ‘Tomorrow’s Memory’ was inspired by the often-murdered ‘Moonlight Sonata’ (it’s a piano teacher talking here!); the flowing triplets in the bass are about the only recognizable part of the original, and Pedersen’s expressive touch and emotional power make this an incredible piece. Wow! Each piece is strong and lovingly crafted in its own right, and the CD as a whole has a wonderful flow with warm, soothing qualities that should satisfy fans and non-fans of classical music. This is one of the best CDs I’ve heard!

– Kathy Parsons

Deja Views concert 1999

March 25th, 2012 by Ken Categories: 3) Music, Deja Views No Responses
Deja Views concert 1999

This article from the Daily Herald covered my collaboration with the students of Glenbard South High School in 1999. The concert was one aspect of the publicity I did for the release of Deja Views. The paper called it Celebration of Creativity

Ken Pedersen Conducts Glenbard South High School Students

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For interview, reviewer tickets or more info, call
Ruthe or Randall at this PR agency, 719-548-9872

PIANIST KEN PEDERSEN CELEBRATING “SPRING SOLSTICE” AND NEW DEJA VIEWS CD WITH 4/21 CONCERT IN GLEN ELLYN FEATURING HIS TRADEMARK “PARAMETER IMPROVS”
__________________________________________________________________

Local pianist and composer Ken Pedersen, known for his innovative “Parameter Improvs,” will celebrate his new nationally-released album, Deja Views, with “A Spring Solstice Concert: A Celebration of Hope” on Wednesday, April 21, 7:30 p.m. at the Glenbard South High School Auditorium in Glen Ellyn, Park Avenue and Butterfield Road (use Entrance 6). Tickets are $3 and are available at the door or by calling Symark Records in advance at 630-545-0776 or 800-616-0299.

“Of course, there is no such thing as a ‘spring solstice’,” states Pedersen, “because the official solstices come in the winter and summer. But spring is a special time of the year when hope is rekindled as warmth and rains bring nature’s rebirth with blossoms and greenery. A solstice is a turning point so we have declared a Spring Solstice as a time to both celebrate as well as reflect on what has gone before and what the future holds.”

Pedersen’s contemporary instrumental music bridges between the formal elements of classical, the peace and repose of “new acoustic,” and the improvisatory nature of jazz. In his concert he will perform his solo piano compositions and will collaborate on-stage with Chicago musical theatre actor and singer Allan Chambers. In addition, as part of his effort to involve each community in his shows, Pedersen also will perform with wind and string instrumentalists
from Glenbard South High School (most are Illinois Music Educator Association winners). Pedersen, who was born in the area and lives in Glen Ellyn, is a former president/boardmember of School District 89 (the K-8 district that feeds Glenbard South).

The concert will feature material from Pedersen’s just-released Deja Views CD — “Memory Awakened,” “Birth of Hope,” “Mind Candy,” “Reunion,” “Reminiscence,” and “Quest.” Each tune explores one of life’s major experiences. Although these pieces were written by Pedersen, he used famous classical melodies — by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Dvorak, Schumann and Chopin — as the jumping off point for his own compositions. “I tried to capture both the essence of what is great about classical music, but also what listeners today enjoy about contemporary instrumental music with its exploration, freshness and vitality.”

He also will perform material from his first album, Walden, which celebrated Henry David Thoreau’s book of the same name and the natural splendor of Walden Pond. Additionally Pedersen will present material written specially for his high school guest performers.

Pedersen will perform at least two “Parameter Improvs” (structured improvisations) at the concert. This is a technique he has been developing over the past two decades. Always popular with concert-goers, parameter improvs are spontaneous compositions based upon audience suggestions, such as a nature image, an emotion or an idea. Other times Pedersen puts numbers in a hat (the numbers correspond to tones on the musical scale) and has audience
members draw them out. Using these randomly-selected notes as the basis for his parameter improv, he leaps into the unknown developing the main melody and counter-melodies as he goes.

“It’s a challenge to create improvised pieces in which the audience sets the parameters,” explains Pedersen. “However, the audience enjoys them and it also gives them a framework in which to interpret my playing. Parameter suggestions can vary widely. At my Walden concert in Boston last year, one of the suggestions was ‘Thoreau riding a mountain bike around Walden Pond.’ Now that’s a parameter! Creativity works best when there are limits, and setting limits helps me build structure into a piece.”

Allan Chambers, who will join Pedersen onstage, is a well-known Chicago-area musical theatre performer and director. His recent roles include Olizar (“the angel of death”) in “Fat Tuesday” at the New Tuners Theatre, and Jean Peghulla in “The House of Martin Guerre” at The Goodman Theatre.