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Assistant Principal Percussion
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ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stephen Kehner joined the Oregon Symphony as Assistant Principal Percussion in September 2020.
Stephen grew up in Marietta, Georgia, and set his sights on becoming a professional musician in high school when he began taking lessons with Charles Settle, then a percussionist in the Atlanta Symphony. Stephen earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Florida State University, where he studied with Dr. John Parks, and went on to obtain a Master of Music degree and Graduate Diploma in Performance from the New England Conservatory, where he studied with Boston Symphony musicians Dan Bauch and Will Hudgins. Stephen’s education was complemented by summer fellowships at the Tanglewood Music Center, Music Academy of the West, Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, National Orchestral Institute, Colorado College Summer Music Festival, and the Texas Music Festival.
After school, Stephen joined the New World Symphony in Miami Beach, Florida, where he was a Percussion Fellow for three years. He then accepted a position as Acting Section Percussion with the Utah Symphony & Opera in Salt Lake City, where he played the 2018-19 season as well as the symphony’s summer series at the Deer Valley Music Festival. Stephen has also performed as a guest musician with the symphonies of Atlanta, Vancouver, Eugene, Tallahassee, the Boston Philharmonic, and the Malaysian Philharmonic. In 2018, he went on tours with the St. Louis Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Aside from his performing responsibilities, Stephen enjoys teaching percussionists of all ages, having been an instructor for summer music camps, high school marching bands, youth orchestras, and university percussion departments. When he’s away from the instruments, Stephen loves to hike, camp, ski, play golf and do virtually anything that takes him into the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. He can often be found cooking for his family at home, mixing cocktails for friends, and exploring the incredible local food and wine scene around Portland.