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Galesburg, IL 61401




Kyle Kunkler '15

Keyboardist and Composer

Major in Music, Minor in Psychology

Kyle composes music professionally and has written two original piano compositions for Ballet Chicago.

Kyle Kunkler '15 is a professional musician who has written pieces for multiple ballet companies.

What have you been up to since Knox?

As a professional musician, it’s been a mix of things. I work for a lot of ballet companies as a class pianist, which has become my normal day-to-day job. The rest of my time is spent writing and producing. I had a lot of fun making music with some friends as Spooky Generator, in which Jake Hawrylak '13 plays on the bass. More recently I’ve been doing some producing for a band called Outrun the Sunlight and also working to develop some of my solo writing.

Tell us about your work for Ballet Chicago.

They’re a school and dance company that focuses on the Balanchine style of ballet. When they were looking to put together a dance show featuring piano work, they approached me about writing some pieces for it. The choreographers picked two of the pieces I had written for them, one 4-hand piano piece called Little Machine and one solo piece called Melt. I performed both of these pieces for the shows. The music had a lot of different melodies woven together at once and seeing that visual through the dancers was just hypnotic and beautiful.

What experiences at Knox have made an impact on your career?

I didn’t originally plan on studying music when I came to Knox, but I had some extremely supportive teachers and classmates that gave me confidence to make the risky choice to study music. I also picked up a lot of skills by picking up projects that were offered to me, even if it was something I didn't know how to do yet. It’s a very good way to challenge your skills in your art and to find out quickly what you need to improve on.

On the other hand, interdisciplinary classes I took at Knox made the most academic impact on me. The Music Department gave me the practical skills I use every day, but the other creative work I’ve been doing has drawn on a lot on the non-musical skills I gained at Knox. For example, my production work has included lots of computer programming and probability theory, both of which are things that I learned about through classes at Knox.

Describe your favorite memory from your time at Knox.

I think a lot about the practice spaces at Knox. It was so wonderfully quiet that I used to look forward to practicing late into the night when there were only a couple people left in the building and there were virtually no other sounds except for the trains.

While at Knox, Kyle was a member of the Knox Jazz Ensemble and the Cherry Street Combo. He also wrote and performed for the Knox New Music Ensemble, and wrote for the Repertory Theatre Term plays ‘In the Next Room’ (or the vibrator play) and ‘Neverwhere.’

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Printed on Sunday, July 14, 2024