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…


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

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


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


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



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



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



  • Tucson/KXCI



  • 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
  • ·


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



  • Ignacio/KSUT
  • Aspen/KDNK

Colorado (cont.)

  • Denver/KHIH



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



  • Newark/WVUD



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



  • Kaapa/KUAI



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



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



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



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


  • Garden City/KANZ



  • Bowling Green/WKYU
  • ·


  • Monroe/KEDM



  • Towson/WTMD



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



  • Grand Rapids/WFRG



  • Duluth/KUMD



  • Cape Girardeau/KRCU
  • Kansas City/KCUR



  • Hattiesburg/WUSM



  • 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



  • Norman/KGOU
  • Stillwater/KOSU



  • Ada/WONB
  • Kent/WKSU



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



  • Catasauqua/WDIY
  • Pittsburgh/WYEP


Rhode Island

  • Newport/WADK


South Carolina

  • Greenville/WMUU


South Dakota

  • Canton/KAUR
  • Brookings/KESD



  • Henderson/WFHC
  • Memphis/WKNO
  • Chattanooga/WUTC



  • Harlington/KMBH
  • Lubbock/KOHM



  • Jordan/KRCL



  • Monterey/WVLS
  • Richmond/WCVE



  • Lynnwood/KSER


West Virginia

  • Dunmore/WVMR



  • Milwaukee/WYMS
  • Milwaukee/WMSE
  • ·

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


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.