Kenji Kikuchi, composer, saxophonist and music educator, has appeared as a performer internationally, including Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House and the Montreux Jazz Festival. He has performed with many jazz greats, including Joshua Redman, Richard Davis, Abraham Laboriel, Jr., Greg Hopkins and Joe Hunt. He is an active performer in the style of classical and jazz on not only his primary instrument, saxophone, but also on flute and clarinet.
Mr. Kikuchi is also an accomplished composer of contemporary classical music. He had several of his works premiered, including Overture for Orchestra and Saxophone Concerto by the Quincy Symphony; Marimba Concerto and Prelude for Orchestra by the Melrose Symphony; and Cape Ann Overture by the Cape Ann Symphony. He has also published Astronomy I, II (Finalist, National Flute Association Newly Published Piece, 2002), Quartet No. 2 (Winner, National Flute Association Newly Published Piece, 1998) and Airmail Edition with Falls House Press; and Sonata for Flute and Piano and Piece for Solo Piano with BKJ Publications. His compositions and arrangements have been performed at renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and Boston Symphony Hall.
As a music educator, Mr. Kikuchi has been directing Soul Sauce, the Groton School Jazz Ensemble, for thirteen years, and he provides opportunities to young musicians to learn both performing with harmony in a group and developing their individual voices through jazz music. He joined the Joy of Music faculty in the fall of 2017.
Vlad Vaskevich, a clarinet and saxophone performer, music educator, and arranger received his Bachelor of Music in Clarinet from the internationally-known Stolyarsky School of Music for Talented Youth and his Master of Music degree in Clarinet from Odessa State Conservatory, where he studied clarinet performance with Professor Kalio Muhlberg.
While studying classical music, Vlad developed a particular interest in jazz. In the Worcester area, he was one of the ArtsWorcester Jazz Ensemble founders, and his name is included in the Jazz Worcester Real Book and “Worcester Jazz History Tree.” Vlad has been professionally performing concerts of popular classical and jazz music throughout New England for many years. At Joy of Music, Vlad has performed multi-genre faculty recitals, consisting of classical music for clarinet for the first half and jazz music for saxophone for the second. His recitals have featured collaborations with such great educators and performers as Wendy Ardizzone, Jerri Sabatini, Rich Ardizzone, Mike Connors, Kallin Johnson, Joe D’Angelo, Thaddeus Bell, and Gerry Wilfong.
An energetic and devoted teacher, Vlad takes great pride in his students’ achievements. Every year his students have performed in the Massachusetts Central District and All-State Festival Concerts, some of them as the principal players. His students also participated in the NEC Massachusetts Youth Wind Ensemble, the Boston, Worcester, and Joy of Music Youth Symphony Orchestras. Several of his students are winners of Young Artist Competitions and have performed their solo programs with symphony orchestras in concerts.
Vlad has been a faculty member at the Performing Arts School of Worcester, Clark University, and the John Hopkins University National Center for Talented Youth. Currently, Vlad teaches clarinet and saxophone at the Artists in Residence program at Wachusett Regional School District and the Cape Conservatory (since 2014). He continues to teach at his private studio in Holden. Vlad has been on the Joy of Music faculty since 2006.