Ron Kean's compositions and arrangements are published by Pavane Music Publishers under the Ron Kean Choral and Multicultural Choral Series, and in the Jonathan Talberg Choral Series. His compositions and arrangements are widely performed throughout the United States and abroad. He recently completed commissions for the choirs at Cal. Poly State University-Pomona and Vox Femina Los Angeles, Iris Levine, Conductor; the Mountainside Master Chorale, Jean Sebastien Vallee, conductor; Bakersfield High School, Christopher Borges, conductor, for the combined Chamber Singers of San Jose State University (Jeffrey Benson) and West Valley College (Lou De La Rosa), for the Cuesta College Concord Chorale, Cassandra Tarantino, Conductor, the Bakersfield College Choirs, Jennifer Garrett, Conductor, and the Sacramento Master Singers, Ralph Hughes, Conductor. Ron is excited about the commissions for the coming year by superb choral groups!
Ron Kean is Emeritus Professor of Music at Bakersfield College. His Doctor of Musical Arts degree is from the University of Southern California where his conducting teachers were Rodney Eichenberger, James Vail, and Daniel Lewis as apprentice conductor of the USC Symphony. Prior to his advanced degrees, Ron moved to Atlanta, Georgia for a year to accept the position as copyist and singer for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus, Robert Shaw, Conductor. He studied west African drumming from Ghanaian master drummer Samuel Kwaku Daddy and Latin percussion with Marcos Reyes from the renowned group, “War.”
His teaching opportunities included choral and world music. He continues to teach World Music at Bakersfield College and at Kern Valley State Prison as part of the Inmate Scholars Program. Prior experience includes four years teaching music at Valencia and Villa Park High Schools. He received the Norman Levan Scholar of the Year Award in 2017 and was asked to present a Colloquium of his music to the Faculty and Staff of Bakersfield College on March 31, 2017. He was awarded the Howard Swan Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award by the California American Choral Directors Association in July, 2016 and the Shirley Trembley Distinguished Teaching Award by his colleagues at Bakersfield College in 2013. He is Past-President of the Music Association of California Community Colleges and Past-President of the American Choral Directors Association Western Division following six years as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives at state, division, and national levels. He was the 2007 California Music Educators Association Multicultural Educator of the Year.
The Bakersfield College Chamber Singers under his direction performed at state, division, and national ACDA conventions. He recently adjudicated choral music festivals at College of the Sequoias, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Cal. State Univ. Long Beach, Fresno State University, Bakersfield High School, Santa Rosa Community College, University of Southern California, and the Bali International Choral Festival. Recent guest conducting opportunities include the Santa Monica/Malibu School District Honor Choirs, Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra with the Bakersfield College Choirs, Hoʻolōkahi Choir Festival and Oahu Sacred Choral Music Festivals in Honolulu, Hawaii, and the world premiere performance of his “Yeats in Love” choral cycle in Sligo, Ireland, the birthplace of William Butler Yeats. He conducted the official world premiere of "Normandy,"at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France on July 4, 2019 as part of the 75th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Europe. This is a commission from the Cuesta College Concord Choir.
I was born in 1951 in Washington, D. C. to a career military father. We lived for three years in Wiesbaden, Germany, for four years in Tokyo, Japan, for a year and a half in Paris, France, and for a year and a half in Athens, Greece growing up as a military dependent. I was never involved in music until I took an entry level piano class at Los Angeles Valley College, which is part of the California Community College system. I knew then that music was going to be my life, but I had no idea how it would manifest itself. My music theory professor, Theodore Lynn, thought that I showed some promise as a composer, and he recommended that I study composition privately with Bruce Broughton. Bruce was a skilled classical composer and made his living composing in the television and film industry. He has since earned ten Emmy awards and was nominated for an Academy Award for his film score, "Silverado." These private lessons from a master opened up a whole new world of score study and composition for me.
My first college-level teaching position was at Porterville College. The majority of my students were from non-Western traditions, and I knew precious little music that would honor their heritage. I scanned the horizon for mentors in the field of world music and found Dr. Albert McNeil. He happily shared his wealth of repertoire with me and the performance practice to accompany this repertoire. He introduced me to Ghanaian master drummer Samuel Kwaku Daddy with whom I subsequently studied for many years. These experiences, combined with ten years of experiencing music from around the world as a child, led me to be a pioneer in the "new" field of world choral music. I went on to become the Ethnic and Multicultural Chair for the American Choral Directors Association at state, division and national levels. The study of all styles of music is an on-going joy for me and has influenced all of my compositions.