Dr. Karen Kenaston-French
Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities, Vocal Area Coordinator, Conducting
Phone: (817) 272-2435
Karen Kenaston‐French is Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas Arlington, where she conducts the A Cappella Choir, the University Singers, teaches conducting, and heads the Vocal Area. Under her direction the A Cappella Choir has toured Texas twice, performed the Mozart Requiem with the UTA Symphony Orchestra, and was the first choral ensemble to appear at the new Winspear Opera House in Dallas.
From 2003‐2009 she served as Director of Choral Activities at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. She led the Austin Peay Chamber Singers on seven performance tours, in two appearances at the Tennessee Music Education Association state conference, and in master classes with Chanticleer, Cantus, and Libby Larsen. Prior to her work at Austin Peay, Dr. Kenaston‐French taught conducting at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, where she held a doctoral fellowship, directed the women’s chorus, and conducted performances of the Grand Chorus and Canticum Novum. Her broad range of experience includes twelve years as director of music ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas, where she built a program that included ten ensembles and more than 250 participants.
Dr. Kenaston‐French has appeared at numerous state and regional events as a guest conductor and adjudicator, and has given frequent clinics on performance practice, choral/vocal technique, and rehearsal strategies for choral music educators. Her article “The Teachings of Jean‐Antoine Bérard” was published in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Journal of Singing in November 2009. Kenaston‐French’s vocal studies include post‐graduate work with Lynn Eustis, Stephen Austin, and Linda Baer, and an undergraduate vocal performance degree with Carolyn Dees. She sang for ten years in the Dallas Symphony Chorus, and was selected to sing in the first Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall through a national competition in 1991.
Kenaston‐French holds a B.A. degree from West Virginia Wesleyan College, M.M. and M.S.M. degrees in choral conducting from Southern Methodist University, and a D.M.A. in choral conducting from the University of North Texas, where she was named outstanding graduate student in conducting and ensembles and the Pi Kappa Lambda outstanding doctoral student, 1999‐2000. In summer 2011, she was selected by audition for the Choral/Orchestral Master Class of the Oregon Bach Festival, where she conducted performances under the tutelage of Helmut Rilling and Jeffrey Kahane.