By Beth Treffeisen
The first Composer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library, Beau Kenyon, a teacher at Kingsley Montessori School debuted his first free concert on Saturday, November 12, in the Rabb Hall at the Central Library in Copley Square.
The multi-platform and multidisciplinary event called, “The Sound of,” connected various members of the Boston community in multiple ways all through the action of finding and creating stillness through sound.
As part of this pilot program, Kenyon’s role has included enriching Library spaces and collections through public programs focused on music and performance throughout the library system.
“Boston Public Library is committed to engaging library users and visitors in a variety of ways, including through performance art,” said Michael Colford, Boston Public Library’s Director of Library Services in a statement. The concert featured performances by Christina English a mezzo-soprano, Vanessa Holroyd on flute, Daniel Dona on viola, Franzisca Huhn on harp, and Kenyon on piano. Together they performed a collection of work by Toru Takemitsu, Marti Epstein, and a new piece by Kenyon.
“Whenever there is a concert and a debut of a new piece I get really nervous,” said Kenyon. “Ideally what I would like to happen is to create a space for people to come together in a shared experience.”
Whether they come from a literature, music, dance or any other background said Kenyon, he hopes that they come with their individual lens and have this shared experience and hopefully it will be wonderful.
Inspiration for this most recent piece Kenyon said came from experience working with Katrina Goldsaito, Julia Kuo, and Jonah Goldsaito on the book “The Sound of Silence” that mixes narrative, illustration, and music all under one online children’s book.
“Overall, the idea of what the book is about is finding stillness in a noisy environment,” said Kenyon. “It’s a way of taking what has been done for a children’s book but in an adult context.”
The residency began in September and will run through June 2017. This will give him access to the Boston Public Library circulating research and special collections, creation of public music-related programs, and community outreach efforts to raise awareness of the Boston Public Library’s resources in the broader music community.
From June 3 – 10, 2017 Kenyon will also hold series of “And All the Men and Women Merely Players” performances at the Central Library, celebrating the culmination of the Library’s Shakespeare initiative, All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library.
Kenyon’s work is often inspired by the extra-musical, including dance, literature, visual arts, and even current events. He strives to collaborate with dancers, authors, artists, and filmmakers, with an aim towards redefining the performance landscape and widening the scope and accessibly of new music.
“The Composer-in-Residence program at the Boston Public Library is one example of how the City of Boston supports local artists and incorporates them into civic life,” said Julie Burros, chief of Arts & Culture for the City of Boston in a statement.
She continued, “Artists play a critical role in ensuring Boston is a thriving and innovative city. They educate and inspire, helping all of us to realize the power of creativity.”
Kenyon is originally from a small town in Iowa and moved to Boston in 2000 to attend Berklee College of Music where he studied composition and piano. He then continued his studies at Tufts University where he received his masters in composition. Kenyon now lives in the South End.
When Kenyon is not at the Boston Public Library he is the director of extracurricular programs at Kingsley Montessori School. His courses that typically happen after regular school hours include a music school for private study, academic enrichment courses, and an engineering and fine arts summer camp for elementary-aged students.
Some of his most recent works includes collaboration with Urbanity Dance, Andrew Kelley from the Boston Ballet and Gino Di Marco from the Boston Conservatory through the North Atlantic Dance Theater.
“I’m just really excited and really excited to me working with the musicians on this project,” said Kenyon.
You can learn more by visiting the calendar of events at www.bpl.org