Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, musician, composer, and sound designer Frederick Kennedy is fascinated by the ways in which improvisation informs design, how physical space shapes our relationship to hearing and storytelling, and how technology can affect the creative act. His primary areas of work and research involve interdisciplinary collaboration with theater, dance, and video artists. Equally at home in the free-jazz avant-garde, contemporary electro-acoustic chamber music, or modern pop music production, Frederick believes in a radical elimination of boundaries between genre.
Recent projects include creating original music and designing sound for Nambi E. Kelly’s Native Son, produced by the Acting Company at the Duke Theater in New York City, The Bacchae, for Classical Theater of Harlem, with choreography by Tiffany Rea-Fisher (NY Times’ Critic Pick), Twelfth Night, at Yale Repertory Theater in New Haven, CT, with choreography by Byron Easley (CT Critics Circle best sound design nomination), and Suzan-Lori Parks’ Father Comes Home from the Wars, parts 1, 2, and 3, at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Aside from regional theater and dance collaborations throughout the Northeastern United States, Frederick’s longtime working relationship with Canadian video artist Pierre St-Jacques has resulted in gallery showings in Canada, Europe, China, Japan, and Scandinavia.
As a musician, he has worked as a drummer and percussionist with Ken Thompson’s Slow/Fast ensemble (Bang on Can All Stars), Zach Brock’s Magic Number, New York Klezmer virtuoso David Krakauer, Grammy-nominated Latin recording artist Pamela Rodriguez, Canadian jazz masters Laila Biali and Anna Webber, and the experimental electroacoustic improvising ensemble Gray Code, aside from many others, including his own ensemble Ocean Sounds, which received a 2012 ECMA (East Coast Music Award) nomination for Jazz Recording of the Year.
Currently, Frederick is on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama, where he teaches composition and sound design and gives individual instruction in composition and music production. He has been an invited guest artist at numerous schools, including Yale School of Drama, Temple University, Brown, the City University of New York, Texas A&M, Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador), Université de Montréal (Quebec, Canada), and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Frederick holds an MFA in sound design from Yale School of Drama, and a Bachelor of Music in jazz studies from the University of North Texas College of Music.
Fellowships and awards include artist development grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the 2018 Burry Fredrik Fellowship in Design, and a Robert Merritt award for best original sound and music for the play Brighter than the Light of the Sun, an exploration of the entwined stories of Louis Riel and Louis B. Mayer.
He is represented by Bret Adams Artists, Ltd., in New York City.