John Kenneth Gorder, more commonly known as Kenken, is a second year master’s student studying trumpet performance under the tutelage of Dr. Amy Schendel at the University of Iowa. He serves as the trumpet teaching assistant at the University of Iowa. Previous trumpet teachers include Dr. Kevin Eisensmith, Ken Brader, and Kyle Fleming. Prior to his time at UI, he earned a bachelors of science degree in music education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He maintains a private studio ranging from elementary school students to college-level students. In addition to teaching privately, he has also had experience teaching in the public schools (K-12) in the Pittsburgh Area. Additionally, he has served as an ensemble coach, camp counselor, and lifeguard at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Summers 2015 and 2016.
As a result of being involved in various ensembles (brass quintets, brass trios, trumpet quartets, orchestras, bands, etc.), he is quite versatile in virtually any musical setting. In February 2015, he commissioned and premiered a 4-movement work for trumpet quartet titled Wind Turbines by Pittsburgh composer, Jacob Pallo. Recently, Kenken has performed and premiered sinfonietta pieces at Bang on a Can Summer Festival by composers Valentin Jost, Liza Sobel, and Connor D’Netto. Additionally, Kenken performed a recital of Louis Adnriessen's music with members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, featuring Worker's Union. Andriessen was in attendance for this recital, and for the final week of the festival.
As he continues his musical journey, some recent notable experiences include competing in the National Trumpet Competition semi-final rounds, embarking on a 10-day orchestra tour of central Europe, substituting as principal trumpet of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra (PA) and Muscatine Symphony Orchestra (IA), and participating in several music festivals including the Puerto Rico Summer Music Festival and the 30th season of Bang on a Can Summer Festival held at MASS MoCA, to name a few.