The Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at CSULB congratulates Justin Leo Kennedy, composition, as the Cole Conservatory Scholar of the Month for March 2013.
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This Week at the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music

Cole Conservatory Scholar of the Month:
March 2013

Justin Leo Kennedy, composition

Portrait of Justin in a beret in the Daniel lobby.

JUSTIN LEO KENNEDY is a composer, pianist, copyist, and music instructor living in Long Beach, California. He earned a B.M. in composition with a minor in music theory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University in 2010. Three years prior, he received an A.A. in music from Ventura College. This year he will receive a M.M. in composition from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music. He has applied and interviewed for doctoral degrees for the 2013-2014 school year. His work has won Ventura's Endowment for the Arts Grant and five American Drum Line Association performance awards.

Approximately one third of Mr. Kennedy's compositional output is devoted to raising awareness for mental illness and he has recently decided to donate all of his compositional revenue to mental illness charities. Please join Justin for his graduate recital to hear Christopher, a 50-minute work about mental illness, on April 21, 2013 at 1:00pm in the Daniel Recital Hall—admission is free.

BCCM: Did you choose the Cole Conservatory or did the Cole choose you?

JLK: I chose to come here because the practice rooms are outside and sometimes people go to class in their pjs. I thought I needed an "open" environment to grow as a musician.

BCCM: When / Why (did you choose) Composition?

JLK: While practicing marimba, in 2005 in a hallway at Ventura College, I realized how much I hated playing marimba, and thought I shouldn't have to just to be a percussion major. This made me think "what do I really love about music?" and suddenly it was clear that composition was my passion.

BCCM: Any musical influences—teachers, family, experiences (performances)?

JLK: My mother—she became a professional artist even though several people, with the exception of my father, doubted her vision. With just a little college experience, she launched her own successful photography business. She believed in my musical abilities so strongly that she put all of the money from her business towards my undergraduate education. My mom even sold her truck to get me through the years I didn't earn enough scholarship money—she's an amazing woman.

BCCM: Do you coach, tutor, or in your case, collaborate with other composers, etc?

JLK: I teach private piano lessons to mostly older teens.

BCCM: Do you have any special techniques or teaching tips?

JLK: I tell my students to play what they want to play and not what their parents want to hear. They work harder to play the music that they love.

BCCM: What is your goal as a musician?

JLK: Through my work as a composer I hope to raise awareness about mental illness and help bridge the gap between those affected and not.

Congratulations to Justin Leo Kennedy, our February 2013 Cole Scholar of the Month!

Previously Honored Cole Scholars of the Month






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Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
California State University, Long Beach

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