Fort Collins Symphony Maestro Wes Kenney Chosen as Honored Artist of the American Prize

Maestro Wes Kenney of the Fort Collins Symphony. Photo courtesy of the Fort Collins Symphony.

The Fort Collins Symphony’s Board of Directors has announced Maestro Wes Kenney as one of six musicians and ensembles selected as Honored Artist of the American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts.

The American Prize was founded in 2010 and is the nation’s most comprehensive series of contests within the musical arts. The nonprofit organization evaluates, recognizes, and rewards the best performers, composers, conductors, ensembles, and directors in the United States at professional, college and university, community, and school levels.

“Maestro Kenney has proven himself to be an artist of sustained excellence,” said David Katz, American Prize founder, and chief judge.

Wes is celebrating his 17th season as Music Director of the Fort Collins Symphony and Director of Orchestras at Colorado State University (CSU). He has won a multitude of awards, including the 2007 Grand Prize Winner of the Varna (Bulgaria) International Conducting Competition, the Ernst Bacon Memorial Prize for excellence in American music performance, and now an American Prize Winner for best orchestral performance in the Youth Orchestra Division.

In his seventh season with Denver Young Artist Orchestra, Wes leads the premier youth orchestra within the state and has led them on two European tours as well as performing twice at Carnegie Hall. He also enjoyed success directing opera, ballet, and musical theater.

A few of Wes’s previous positions include Music Director of the Virginia Ballet Theater, Co-Principle Conductor of the Oakland Lyric Opera, and Guest Conductor with Universal Ballet Korea. He has appeared over 350 times with that orchestra at the Virginia Symphony’s Associate Conductor, where he was responsible for programming and conducting Pops, Family, and Young People’s Concerts.

Wes was named Educator of the Year by the Colorado Chapter of the American String Teachers Association in 2008 and enjoys working with young people in his position as Director of Orchestras at CSU. He has served as Guest Conductor with the Alabama, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Virginia All-State Orchestras.

Wes is also one of the founders of the CSU Summer Master of Music Education, emphasizing conducting a program that is now in its twelfth year. He is a past president of the Conductors Guild, a 2000 member service organization to the conducting profession.

Wes is a graduate of the University of Southern California and San Fransisco State University. He also studied for three years as a fellow at the Conductors Institute, multiple American Symphony Orchestra League and Conductors Guild Workshops, and the Sandpoint Festival.

For more information regarding Maestro Wes Kenney and the Fort Collins Symphony, visit:

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