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Full Biography

Kevin Poelking

(b. 1988, Downers Grove, IL)


Unique, thoughtful, and meticulously crafted, Kevin Poelking’s work is quickly emerging in the world of modern music. Always mindful of contributing purposefully to the repertoire, Poelking considers the experience of audience members, musicians, and conductors from the outset of his creative process.

Kevin Poelking began his musical career as an educator, performer, and conductor. Completely self-taught in the craft of composition at this point, Poelking began submitting a few of his works to competitions. Many of the first performances of his works occurred outside of the United States with professional and university ensembles in Romania, Italy, France, and Spain. During this time, he also dabbled in writing music for media, working for clients including, The March of Dimes, and the University of Southern Mississippi. Years later he would record with The Budapest Scoring Orchestra, the ensemble that provided music for the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” and Netflix’s “Squid Games”.

At the encouragement of many of his mentors, Poelking began to pursue composing music more seriously. While completing his studies in conducting at Colorado State University, Dr. Rebecca Phillips (Director of Bands, Past-President of NBA) advised Poelking to begin studying with award-winning composer Dr. James M. David. In the final year of his degree, he was named Graduate Student of the Year by the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and won the 2018 CSU Graduate Showcase with his first piece for chamber wind ensemble.

When Poelking made the career switch to composing, he was quickly named a winner or top finalist in several competitions including The NBA/ William D. Revelli Memorial Composition Contest (2022 Finalist), The American Prize (3rd Prize and two-time National Semi-Finalist), The Dallas Winds Fanfare Competition (2019 Winner), The Reno Pops Composer’s Showcase (2nd Prize), and The Minot Symphony Orchestra Young Composer’s Competition (Winner). As his music gained momentum, it caught the attention of Pulitzer-Prize Finalist Carter Pann who invited Poelking to pursue composition studies as a private student.


As an emerging composer, Poelking swiftly received commissions from professional musicians and university ensembles around the United States. This included a new album by Dr. Stanley Curtis- U.S. Navy Band trumpet (ret.) and world premieres at major national conventions (International Trombone Festival and International Double Reed Society Conference). Poelking’s knowledge of repertoire from his experience as a conductor led to the creation of his “Chamber Winds Project”, which was cited by CBDNA (College Band Director’s National Association) as an important resource for repertoire in the genre.


In the summer of 2019, Poelking was selected from an international pool of applicants to conduct The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in concert where he was awarded the band's medal "For Excellence" by leader and commander Col. Andrew Esch. He also served as the Conducting Fellow for the Montgomery Philharmonic for their 2016-17 season. In addition to formal studies with Rebecca Phillips, Wes Kenney, and Sandra Ragusa, he has also received instruction from H. Robert Reynolds, Michael Haithcock, Craig Kirchoff, Gary Hill, Kevin Sedatole, Emily Threinen, Pablo Saelzar, and George Etheridge.

In addition to maintaining his schedule as a regularly commissioned composer, Poelking continues teaching as a member of the Colorado State University music faculty. He also serves as Composer-in-Residence with the Greater Boulder Youth Orchestras. Poelking regularly visits and collaborates with ensembles, professionals, and music students. He speaks publicly, guest lectures, and writes about healthy and efficient work habits in the teaching and creative field. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife Caitlin, a respected Physician Assistant professionally recognized for her work in family health and pediatrics.

Composer of new music Kevin Poelking
Budapest Scoring Orchestra In Action.png

The Budapest Scoring Orchestra recording Poelking's Gradients

New Music Album for Trumpet

Media from Orbits of Infinity album, featuring Poelking's Cassini

The United States Army Band Conductor

Poelking conducting the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" in 2019

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