Stefania de Kenessey

Stefania de Kenessey is a leading figure in the revival of neoclassicism; her most recent CD Shades of Light, Shades of Dark received rave reviews as “fully worthy to share a program or disc with the masterpieces by Mozart or Brahms” (Fanfare).

Her music has been presented in Europe, Australia, Singapore and  China, as well as throughout the United States.  Honored repeatedly with awards from ASCAP, her output includes works in all genres, from chamber and vocal to opera and symphonic.  She has written concertos for virtuosos such as trumpeter Chris Gekker and flutist Elizabeth Mann; she has had premieres with the Singapore Symphony, St. Luke’s  Chamber Ensemble, Manhattan Chamber Orchestra, and the Absolute  Ensemble Orchestra, conducted by Kristjan Jarvi.

Recent successes include the premiere of High Summer, a song cycle for soprano Adina Aaron and chamber ensemble, at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall; a double bill of one-act operas by the Mannes Opera; a memorial for sculptor Frederick Hart at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.; a work for chorus and orchestra premiered by the Turtle Creek Chorale at Carnegie Hall, as well as a vocal commission for the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts.  Her newest CD features renowned baritone Christopheren Nomura singing Autumn Elegy, her 9/11 memorial song cycle on poems by prize-winning author and chairman of the NEA Dana Gioia.

She is also the founder and artistic director of the Derriere Guard, an alliance of traditionalist contemporary artists, architects, poets and composers, whose inaugural festival featured noted author Tom Wolfe.  Her next project is an opera based on his best-selling satire of contemporary American life, The Bonfire of the Vanities.

Ms. de Kenessey’s  music can  be heard on Center Stage Records, North/South Records, E.R.M., Opus One and Leonarda labels.


 “Her music is extremely accessible, appealing, and deserving of a wider audience.”
--- James Conlon, Music Director, Opera National de Paris

“Ms. de Kenessey’s music here is often neo-Classical and neo-Baroque (there are several Mozartean and Handelian stretches), with touches of theater music and early rock drifting through it.  Accessible melody prevails...lovely moments of tonality and old-fashioned lyricism.”
--- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times

“The music simply soars in a way that I associate with the greatest masterpieces.  It was very much like being introduced to Brahms chamber music way back when, felicity following felicity…Her melodic style is rich and entirely uncliched, the themes sing in the manner one associates with great songs, and everything, fast or slow, has an amazing rhythmic life that propels the music forward…”
--- John Story, Fanfare


Stefania de Kennessy

Music of the Derriere Guard

Tom Wolfe and the Derriere Guard