Stefania de Kenessey is a leading figure in contemporary classical music: “Shades of Light, Shades of Dark”, a CD of her compositions, received rave reviews as “fully worthy to share a program or disc with the masterpieces by Mozart or Brahms” (Fanfare).
Honored repeatedly with awards from ASCAP, her music is performed nationally at; venues such as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as throughout the world. Her output ranges from choral, vocal and operatic pieces to chamber and orchestral work, as well as scores for documentary films, theater and dance companies.
Her opera adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-selling novel “Bonfire of the Vanities” (bonfiretheopera.com) premiered in New York City Oct.9-10, 2015 to considerable acclaim: “melodically ingratiating…skillfully wrought…caustically witty” (Financial Times); “Stefania de Kenessey’s musical setting was, unlike a lot of contemporary opera, tuneful and grateful to the voice” (The Observer); “an enterprising opera company would do well to give de Kenessey’s opera a look” (Opera Magazine).
She has written concertos for such virtuosos as Chris Gekker and Elizabeth Mann; she has had premieres with the Singapore Symphony, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra and the Absolute Ensemble, conducted by Kristjan Jarvi.
Active in the realm of opera, she has collaborated with Golden Fleece Chamber Opera as well as Underworld Productions: she recently completed a musical adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s best-selling novel “The Bonfire of the Vanities”
Her work can be heard on Center Stage Records as well as on the North/South, TCC, ERM, Opus One, Leonarda and Tugboat Music labels. Innova Records issued pianist Mary Kathleen Ernst’s solo recording of “Spontaneous D-Combustion” during the fall of 2013, and North/South released the first disc devoted excusively to de Kenessey’s vocal music, “Gotham Siren”, sung by soprano Adina Aaron, mezzo Adriana Zabala and baritone Christopheren Nomura.
Ms. de Kenessey currently serves on the board of the Martina Arroyo Foundation and the International Alliance for Women in Music.
She received her BA in music summa cum laude from Yale and her Ph.D. in composition from Princeton University, where she studied with Milton Babbitt.
She is currently a professor of music at The New School and has served as the Dean of Eugene Lang College, its undergraduate division, as well as the Chair of the MA in Liberal Studies at the graduate level.