Joe Kennedy Jr.

Joe Kennedy Jr. is a violinist, composer, teacher, and arranger. He was born in Pittsburgh, PA. He was inducted into U.S. Army service during WWII. Joe performed with the Camp Lee Symphony Orchestra Petersburg, VA. Joe then returned to Pittsburgh and began his career as a jazz musician with the Four Strings. Mary Lou Williams, pianist and arranger, was responsible for the recording of the group’s debut album. The album was called Trends on Asch Records’ subsidiary label Disc. The Strings received a favorable review in May 1949’s DownBeat Magazine. Kennedy was described as “the most clean violin we have ever heard.” Joe received a BS Degree (University) in Music and Applied Music from Carnegie Mellon University. After that, he was a member of the Richmond Public Schools and Director of Band at Virginia Union University. He returned to Pittsburgh during the summers to complete a Masters Degree of Music Education at Duquesne University. For 32 years, he was a Richmond Public Schools Instrumental Music Specialist, Supervisor, and Supervisor of Secondary Arts and Humanities. He and Dr. Thomas Bridge became the first African American musicians to be admitted to the Richmond Symphony during that period. From 1963 to 1981, he was the Richmond Symphony’s Resident Violinist. He performed at many concerts and festivals in the United States and Europe, and did his school and symphony duties. He was an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University’s African-American Studies Department (1973-1984), where he taught a course called “An Introduction To African-American Music”. Kennedy wrote throughout all of this. Kennedy’s compositions, including Tempo, Surreal and Opticas, were praised by critics. Kennedy was appointed Director of Jazz Studies, Department of Music at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University of Virginia (VA Tech), in Blacksburg, in 1984. He was the Composer in Residence of Roanoke Symphony Orchestra from 1993 to 1994, as commissioned by Victoria Bond. His composition “Sketches For Solo Violin, Jazz Trio and Symphony Orchestra” was performed by orchestras from Augusta, GA, Wilmington, DE, Chautauqua NY, among others. In 1995, Mr. Kennedy was appointed Professor Emeritus at VA Tech. Joe Kennedy, Jr. was a composer and violinist who toured the globe. He has toured Japan, the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Hague, Holland, Grande Parade du Jazz, Nice France, and the Birmingham International Jazz Festival, England. He was featured in “A Salute to Duke Ellington” which was televised nationally. He performed at the Concord, Monterey, and New York Kool Jazz Festivals, Carnegie Hall, as well as as as guest violinist with Modern Jazz Quartet at Richmond (VA), Jazz Festival; as solo violinist at Aspen, Colorado Music Festival and at San Francisco Jazz Festival. Kennedy’s career, as well as many of his compositions, were featured in the British documentary “Fiddlers Three”. The recordings that feature the talented composer and violinist include: Joe Kennedy, Jr., Strings By Candlelight, Cap Records, Red Anchor Productions, Joe Kennedy, Jr. and Toots Thielemans, Accentuate The Positive, Cap Records, Red Anchor Productions, and Joe Kennedy, Jr. and Toots Thielemans, Cap Records, Red Anchor Productions, and The Definitive Black and Blue Session: Joe Kennedy, Jr., The Essence Part 2: Birdology Records; Billy Taylor, Red Baron Records, Red Baron Records, and, and, and, and, Antilles Records, The Heath Brothers and Others, Antilles Records from

Leave a Comment