Award Winners / Artist Profile

About the Artist

Jessika Kenney (Seattle) is a vocalist and composer in the realm of new, experimental, metal, electronic, and improvised music. Inspired by both traditional music and experimental methods, she has explored the interpretation and performance of Persian and Javanese secular court music, vocals, and literature, including innovative translations focused on the mysteries of traditions. Kenney has also created and collaborated with Seattle composer Eyvind Kang, and performed throughout the world with the Orchestra del Teatro Communale and Coro da Camera di Modena (Italy), Gamelan Pacifica (Seattle), Gamelan Madusari (Vancouver, BC) and others. She has performed, recorded, and studied with ney master Ostad Hossein Omoumi since 2004. She is a recipient of Artist Trust’s Grants for Artist Projects and a CityArtist Project grant from the City of Seattle. She is a graduate from and adjunct vocal faculty at Cornish College of the Arts.

Jessika received a 2001 GAP to support the completion of a CD, including the very essential phase of mastering, the collaborative phase of graphic design, and part of the printing costs. The music in this CD is performed in the subtle and revealing context of the chamber ensemble, with some of the best musicians of Central Javanese gamelan music in the U.S, including UC Berkeley professor Ki Midiyanto, as well as with violist Eyvind Kang (Artist Trust 2011 Arts Innovator Award recipient).

Jessika was recently awarded a 2013 CityArtist Project grant from the City of Seattle to support the composition, recording and performance of a new work exploring secular court music, vocals and associated literature from Iran and Java, including innovative translations focused on the mysteries of traditions.

Artist's Addenda: Jessika received the $50,000 James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award for 2014.

Information included above was provided by artist at the time of application.
From the Artist

I am so grateful and delighted to accept the James W. Ray Distinguished Artist Award. It is a joy and humbling honor, which will truly support my life’s work, and I hope in turn will benefit my extended community in many ways. I hope that the spirit of projects and awards like these will help improve the atmosphere of our world, and lead to all kinds of generosity, understanding and diverse imaginings.

Jessika Kenney