Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Schaphorst, Ken (Kenneth William)

Schaphorst, Ken (Kenneth William), composer, educator, trumpeter; b. Abington, PA, 24 May 1960. His college degrees are a B.A., Swarthmore College, 1982; M.M., New England Conservatory, 1984; and D.M.A., Boston Universty, 1990. He married Ellen Argyros, 1989. They have two sons, Zachary (b. 1990) and Maxwell (b.1993). He's Associate Professor and Director of Jazz Studies, Lawrence University (since 1991).

Schaphorst is a composer, performer, and educator living in Appleton, Wisconsin. Schaphorst has studied at Swarthmore College, New England Conservatory, and Boston University, where he received the Doctor of Musical Arts in 1990. His composition teachers have included Thomas Oboe Lee, Gerald Levinson, William Thomas McKinley, and Bernard Rands. Schaphorst has been awarded Composition Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1988 and 1991, the Wisconsin Arts Board in 1997, Meet the Composer Grants in 1987 and 1997, and was a Music Composition Finalist in the Massachusetts Fellowship Program in 1986. Schaphorst is also a founding member of the Jazz Composers Alliance, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of new music in the jazz idiom.
The 18-piece Ken Schaphorst Big Band, created in 1988, has been hailed by the Boston Phoenix as "the most interesting and contemporary large ensemble to come out of Boston in recent years." W. Royal Stokes writes in Jazz Times that band's 1989 debut recording, Ken Schaphorst Big Band: Making Lunch, "combines the sophisticated and eclectic writing of the leader and the wonderfully loose playing of, for these ears, 18 of Boston's finest improvisers." About the Ken Schaphorst Big Band's follow-up recording, Ken Schaphorst Big Band: After Blue, released on the Accurate Recordings label in 1991, Gene Santoro writes in Pulse! that Schaphorst "cannily exploits the colors of his 18-piece group with a ferocious energy and an offbeat ear that will turn you on yours-just as Mingus meant to do." When the Moon Jumps, featuring the 10-piece Ken Schaphorst Ensemble, was released on ccurate Records in 1994. The recording that Jazz Times calls "one of the most excitingly provocative large ensemble ventures in years" received four stars from Down Beat magazine and features the three-movement Concerto for John Medeski, commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1991. Released in 1997, Over the Rainbow is Ken Schaphorst's tribute to legendary songwriter Harold Arlen. In 1997, he received the Artist Fellowship Award by the Wisconsin Arts Board.

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