(shorter bio on homepage)
Kevin Poelking (POAL-king)
(b. 1988, Downers Grove, IL)
Unique, thoughtful, and meticulously crafted, Kevin Poelking’s work is quickly emerging in the world of contemporary 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.
Poelking began his musical career as an educator, performer, and conductor, completely self-taught in the craft of musical composition up until 2018. It was around this time he began studies with award-winning composer Dr. James M. David and Pulitzer Prize-nominee Carter Pann shortly thereafter.
After making the switch to life as a professional composer, he was quickly named a winner or top finalist in several competitions for large ensemble (band and orchestra) music including:
The NBA/ William D. Revelli Memorial Composition Contest (2022 Finalist)
The American Prize (National 3rd Prize, Two-time semi-finalist)
The Dallas Winds Fanfare Competition (2019 Winner)
Fanfare for a New Day for Brass and Percussion
The Reno Pops Composer's Showcase (2nd Prize)
The Minot Symphony Orchestra Young Composer's Competition (2020 Winner)
Poelking has also had success in solo and chamber music. His first three pieces commissioned by solo performers were all featured in recordings that were each named a finalist or semi-finalist for "The Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for the Performance of American Music". (There and Back for bassoon, Unbroken for flute, and Cassini for trumpet, piano, and percussion.)
In 2018, Poelking began "The Chamber Winds Project", an initiative to add to the repertoire of conducted chambers winds works (20 players or less). This was cited by CBDNA (The College Band Director's National Association) as an important resource for directors around the country. His music has been accepted for performance at the International Double Reed Society International Conference and his first work for trombone choir (Distant Promises) was performed at the 2023 International Trombone Festival.
Poelking has also devoted significant time as an orchestrator and music arranger while also writing original music for various forms of media. He provides custom music for individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations around the world. He most recently recorded With Eyes Anew for symphony orchestra with The Budapest Scoring Orchestra, the ensemble that provided music for the Oscar-winning film “Parasite” and Netflix’s “Squid Games”.
Poelking also maintains a consistent schedule as a conductor. Immediately following his graduate conducting studies at Colorado State University with Dr. Rebecca Phillips, 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". In the final year of his conducting degree, Poelking was named Graduate Student of the Year by the School of Music, Theatre, and Dance and was named winner the 2018 CSU Graduate Showcase for composing his first piece for chamber winds.
In addition to maintaining his schedule as a regularly commissioned composer, Poelking now teaches 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 (including offering opportunities and discounts to underfunded music programs and full-time music students through his website). 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.
Poelking conducting the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" in 2019