Peter Kenagy

Affiliated Departments
music history

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Career Highlights
  • Trumpet player
  • Leader of Peter Kenagy Nonet, the Mad Monkfish Jazz Orchestra
  • Recordings include Little Machines (2004), Double Happiness (2005), Space Western (2006), Coolidge (2007), Standard Model (2017), Stuart Little: suite for piano after E.B. White's tale (2021)
  • Major publications include George Russell's Jazz Workshop: The Composer's Style and Original Methods of 1956 (University of Illinois School of Music, 2009)
  • Affiliated artist and instructor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Visiting lecturer, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Nicholas Temperley Prize for Excellence in a Dissertation, University of Illinois School of Music (2009) 
  • B.M., New England Conservatory of Music, jazz studies
  • M.M., New England Conservatory of Music, jazz studies
  • D.M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In Their Own Words

"My teaching style is relaxed, direct, spontaneous, and interactive. I am both an idealistic and practical teacher; I have high standards but am very patient. I try to adapt to the interests of individuals and emphasize connections with professional situations they will encounter."
"After taking my courses, I want students to carry with them a set of skills and strategies that will last a lifetime. I want students to be able to compose away from their instruments, and to have a seamless flow between their mind and instrument. I want to build confidence and also set up students for sustained personal development."

"Students here are lucky to be exposed to a wonderfully rich environment of fellow students and teachers who are each passionate about their own corner of the music world. The challenge is to find your way amid the diverse options. Berklee is full of opposites and contradictions that offer important lessons to future music professionals. It's a competitive place with so many talented people moving forward, but it's a collaborative place where students experiment and learn together by doing. It's an exciting mix of old and new musical styles, it’s social and driven by contemporary trends."

"My life experience as a trumpet player, jazz composer, and musicologist is constantly relevant to classroom situations. I can't imagine playing professionally without using the very same skills we strive to teach in the ear training curriculum. Learning new songs, sight-reading in an ensemble, improvising, composing, and analyzing music would be impossible without the foundation I have at my disposal. The trumpet is just a hunk of metal—it's a lifeless object. Only conception makes sounds possible. To function today, you must be able to move easily in a continuous cycle of listening, imagining, singing, reading, writing, and performing. It is my hope to help create this foundation within my students."