Maestro Wes Kenney named a 2022 Colorado State University Distinguished Professor

Wes Kenney Promotional Photo

Wes Kenney has been named the first University Distinguished Professor from the CSU School of Music, Theatre, and Dance.

University Distinguished Professorships “symbolize the continuing commitment of Colorado State University to the pursuit of excellence” and are bestowed upon “the most outstanding faculty members of Colorado State University for the duration of their association with the institution.” The distinction of being a member of this select group recognizes “role models for emulation.” Criteria for conferring the award includes “records of performance ranking them among the most outstanding members of their disciplines, as reflected by their research publication, exhibition, artistic performance….”

Mr. Kenney, now in his nineteenth year as professor of music and director of orchestras, conducts the University Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonia, as well as the Ralph Opera Program productions, and teaches graduate conducting. “I’ve never thought of myself as a breaker of barriers, but rather just a ‘regular joe’ who conducts concerts,” Kenney said. “However, there is now more of an urgency to teach an artistic craft, reveal the how and why of the art form we wither create or recreate, plus explore the understanding and depth of the human condition.”

Mr. Kenney was honored and humbled to be named the first distinguished professor from the CSU School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Ben Withers, called the honor “well-deserved.” Mr. Kenney said, “It is my hope that this award will simply be the first of many in the future for our school’s faculty and the community at large will realize that the faculty in teaching, research, publishing, performances, and more, are doing so with distinguished distinction.”

From his community involvement as music director of the Fort Collins Symphony and drive to inspire and develop the artists of the future as director of the Denver Young Artists Orchestra, Mr. Kenney’s love and dedication to his art is apparent.

“In keeping the flame alive, we may lift the spirits of someone in our audience for an evening, set aright a troubled soul, or set an inspired youth on the longer path of creativity or performance excellence,” Kenney said. “We can all make a difference in this world.”

More information about the University Distinguished Professors award can be found at