Dennis Kam

Title/Position: Professor Emeritus, Music Theory and Composition

Profile:

 
What would you say are the outstanding highlights of your professional life?

  1. Winning BMI SCA prizes twice in the 1960s

  2. Receiving a Ford Foundation/MENC grant as part of the Contemporary Music Project to be Professional (Composer)-in- Residence for Honolulu and the State of Hawaii

  3. Hearing the premiere of Ad Hoc for chamber ensemble by the Julliard Ensemble, Dennis Russell Davies at the Festival of 20th Century Music in Hawaii in 1972

  4. Hearing the premiere of my String Quartet No. 2 by the Composers String Quartet at Festival Miami in 1986

  5. Receiving a residency at Seaside, Florida—a one month “Escape to Create”

  6. The release by Living Artists Recordings of the first CD exclusively of my music entitled All About Time

What is your teaching philosophy? What do you expect of your students?

I believe in helping students develop their individuality and special strengths.

Why should a potential student choose the University of Miami?

The Frost School of Music is an institution where students can learn in a “real world” musical environment.

Career Highlights:

Dennis Kam has received many commissions, grants, and awards, including BMI and the Ford Foundation, which enabled him to serve as Professional (Composer)-in-Residence for Honolulu and the State of Hawaii under the auspices of the Ford Foundation/ MENC Contemporary Music Project during 1970–1972.

He currently serves as Composer-in-Residence for the South Florida Youth Symphony and conducts the Other Music Ensemble (group for the performance of new music) at the University of Miami.

Recent recordings of Prof. Kam’s music include Miami Mix II performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, released on the TNC label, as well as two works performed by the Ibis Camerata, Trio and Sonata Ibis, one of five versions of single work (Albany recording).

Kam’s works since the 1980s have represented a number and variety of interests:

  * new tonal or post-atonal possibilities

  * contextual novelty

  * varieties of focus and perceptibility

  * time and continuity

  * meaning, implication

  * representation in music

During 1982–1987, he was music director/conductor of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. Prof. Kam currently serves as National Board Member for Composition and just completed a term as President for the Southern Chapter of the College Music Society. He has also served as a member of both Executive and National Councils for the Society of Composers, Inc.

Dennis Kam, Professor Emeritus and Former Chair, Department of Music Theory and Composition, earned a B.M. degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, a M.F.A. degree from the University of Hawaii, and a D.M.A. degree from the University of Illinois. He also has studied at the Mozarteum in Austria and Toho Gakuen in Japan. Kam has received many awards, grants and commissions, including important BMI awards. During 1970-1972, he was Composer-in-Residence for Honolulu and the State of Hawaii through the Ford Foundation/MENC Contemporary Music Project. Kam is an active member of the College Music Society and has been a member of both the Executive and National Councils of the Society of Composers, Inc. As a conductor, he directs the Other Ensemble (group for the performance of new music) at the University of Miami and serves as theory-composition consultant/guest conductor for the South Florida Youth Symphony. His music is published by Belwin-Mills, Kalmus, Media Press, and Smith Publications and recorded on Capstone and Living Artists Recordings.

Short Biography:

Dennis Kam is professor emeritus in the Department of Music Theory and Composition at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, where he served previously as department chair for several decades.  He retired in May 2013. While at Frost, he also conducted the Other Music Ensemble (for the performance of new music). He is currently composer-in-residence for the South Florida Youth Symphony. Recent recordings of Professor Kam’s music include Miami Mix II performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony (TNC label), as well as two works performed by the Ibis Camerata, Trio and Sonata Ibis (Albany). Professor Kam is national board member for Composition for the Southern Chapter of the College Music Society, where he was formerly president. He has also served as a member of both Executive and National Councils for the Society of Composers, Inc. Kam’s works since the 1980s have represented a number and variety of interests including new tonal or post-atonal possibilities, contextual novelty, varieties of focus and perceptibility, time and continuity, meaning, implication and representation in music. During 1982–1987, Kam was music director/conductor of the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and has received many commissions, grants, and awards, including BMI and the Ford Foundation, enabling him to serve as Professional (Composer)-in-Residence for Honolulu and the State of Hawaii under the auspices of the Ford Foundation/ MENC Contemporary Music Project during 1970–1972.
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"The temporal aspect of music gives it the ability to provide something deeply spiritual and emotional that no other art can." —Dennis Kam


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