John Kilkenny enjoys a unique career as a performer, conductor, educator and artistic administrator. Hailed as a “particularly fine timpanist” by the Washington Post, Kilkenny’s recent seasons include multiple performances of the Michael Daugherty “Raise the Roof: Concerto for Timpani,” solo recitals at the National Gallery of Art, Chamber music collaborations at the Kennedy Center, and solo, chamber and orchestral performances across the country. He has had the privilege throughout his career to perform with virtually every Washington D.C. Performing Arts organization, spanning groups as diverse as the National Symphony and Washington Opera, to the Bach Consort and Verge Ensemble.
Kilkenny is Director of Percussion Studies and Associate Director of Concert Bands at George Mason University. In 2011, he founded the Mason Percussion Group, an ensemble committed to performing, commissioning and collaborating in the creation of major works for percussion chamber music. Highlights include performances at the 2016 Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the 2016 New York State Music Educators Conference, 2014 Virginia Music Educators Conference, and the Millennium stage of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. As a conductor, Kilkenny has appeared with honor groups and professional ensembles across the country and made his international conducting debut with the Banda Concertios in San Jose, Costa Rica.
This past summer Kilkenny served as Artistic Director of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival, one of the national premiere orchestral and chamber music training festivals. He is the 4th director, and 1st percussionist, to run Sewanee in it’s 65 year history. For many years, he was artist liaison with the Indiana University percussion academy and co-founded the University of Maryland Summer Percussion Workshop. An active clinician and adjudicator, he has served for many years on the panel for the Music for All National Percussion Festival. Kilkenny received his BM from Juilliard and MM from Temple University, and is proudly sponsored by Zildjian cymbals, Remo percussion products and is a Yamaha Performing Artist.