Music for All is saddened by the passing of Dr. Karen Kennedy, a founding member of the Music for All Choral Artistic Committee. Dr. Kennedy’s insights and vibrant inspiration were instrumental in the early development of the Music for All National Choir Festival.
Dr. Kennedy was the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Miami, where she oversaw the DMA and MM programs in choral conducting. Previous to her appointment at Miami, she held positions as the Director of Choral Activities at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Artistic Director of the Honolulu Symphony Chorus, and Director of Choral Studies at Towson University.
Outside of her work in academics, Karen enjoyed leading festival performances, most recently in notable venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Mormon Tabernacle, the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Canterbury Cathedral in England, and multiple venues in Austria. Off the podium, Dr. Kennedy was passionate about leading workshops on innovative rehearsal technique, vocal pedagogy and the choral classroom, and music literacy, garnering invitations nationally and internationally for teaching residencies at established festivals and retreats.
Equally at home working with orchestra, Dr. Kennedy conducted fine ensembles including the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra, the Miami Symphony, the Boca Raton Philharmonic, and the Symphony of the Americas. She prepared choruses for a wide range of events, from performances on MTV to collaborations with the Cleveland Orchestra. NAXOS released two recordings with her ensembles in spring 2017, joining her featured choir performance on the Latin Grammy-winning album Loco de Amor.v
Dr. Kennedy received numerous awards for teaching, including the University of Hawai’i Chancellor’s Citation for Meritorious Teaching, and Arizona State University’s Manzanita “Top Prof” Award and was a two-time recipient of the Lawrence Township Schools Superintendent’s Award. She was a past-president of the Hawai’i Chapter of the America Choral Directors Association (ACDA), founding member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), a past Repertoire and Standards Chair for Collegiate Choirs in ACDA’s Eastern Division, and maintained an active student ACDA chapter at the University of Miami.
“Karen was my student at Butler University, an esteemed colleague, and a friend,” said Henry Leck, Artistic Director of Choral Activities at Music for All. “She was beloved by her students and all those who witnessed her inspirational passion as a teacher and conductor.”