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Kai Ono

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Kai Ono

Biography

Kai Ono (b. 1995, Irvine, Calif.) is an American composer and pianist.

Kai graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and composition with distinction, and as a Presser Scholar. He studied with Dr. Scott McBride Smith and Chizuko Asada, composition with James Barnes, Dr. Forrest Pierce, Dr. Kip Haaheim, and Dan Gailey, and jazz with TJ Martley.

Kai's primary specializations are jazz and classical. He has won some awards in festivals and competitions such as the West Virginia Intersection of Jazz and Classical Festival, the Rosalyn Tureck Fourth International Bach Competition, and the Celia Mendez Young Artists’ Beethoven Competition.

As a composer, Kai was a recipient of Downbeat Magazine’s Undergraduate College Outstanding Composition for Big Band and the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Award for his piece Everybody Is with Everybody Else, which was performed at the Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York City. His piece Two Novellas for Clarinet and Piano was a winner of both the National Federation of Music Clubs Student Composition Awards and the NFMC Emil and Ruth Beyer Composition Awards.

Kai is currently a member of the Additive Color Ensemble, along with flutist Brian Allred and saxophonist David Berrios, where the three musicians engage in commissioning, educational outreach, and improvisation exploration projects. The group experiments with the structure of concerts and venues, understanding how the untrained ear perceives music, and designing concerts to best contextualize the music they perform.


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