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Two students play with a dog near a fountain at Cal UTwo students play with a dog near a fountain at Cal U

Ken Karsh

Education

  • B.Mus: Performance, Duquesne University
  • M.Mus.: Performance, Duquesne University

Biography

Ken Karsh began playing guitar at the age of 9 and has been deeply involved in music and music education ever since. He attended Berklee College of Music and received his B.Mus. and M.Mus. in Performance at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Over the past several years, Ken has performed live and on recordings with nationally and locally known musicians such as Jimmy McGriff, Barry Miles, Spider Rondinelli, Eric Kloss, Bobby McFerrin, Lee Konitz, Larry Elgart, Joe Negri, Joey DeFrancesco, “Papa John” DeFrancesco, Jack McDuff, Gene Ludwig, Bernadette Peters, Nathan Davis, Michael Gibbs, and Angel Romero. One of Ken’s proudest moments is his participation as guitarist for the soundtrack for the documentary film In My Hands, which was directed by Ann Reinking with music composed by Jeffrey Saver. 

As guitarist for a variety of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera musical theater productions, Ken has performed in such well know productions as Legally Blonde, Swing, Les Mis, Jesus Christ, Superstar, Chess, Chicago, A Chorus Line, Parade (composed by Jason Robert Brown, who conducted), Fiddler on the Roof (performing on guitar and mandolin), Copacabana (composed by Barry Manilow) and The Lion King with the Gazelle Company at the Benedum Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA. Ken has performed with such distinguished groups as the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Opera Orchestra (performing on Mandolin). In 1981, he was featured as the solo electric guitarist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Andre Previn’s Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. 

Ken’s arrangements and etudes are featured in the Mel Bay and Warner Bros. publications, Jazz Guitar Standards (2002) and Jazz Guitar Standards: Chord Melody Solos and Mel Bay’s Guitar Journals: Jazz. He has authored two textbooks for guitar: Jazz Scale Workout (Mel Bay Publications) and the self-published Fingerboarding Made EZ: Scale & Arpeggio Visualization for Guitar. Ken has two CD releases of his own compositions and jazz standards entitled Ventana and Conversations, both on Alanna Records. Ken plays Archtop guitars made by Tim Brockman (brockmanguitars.com), utilizes Fender Amplifiers, and is an endorsee for D’Addario Strings.

Academic Department(s)

  • Department of Music

Academic Program(s)

  • B.S. Commercial Music Technology