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Dr. Karen Kenaston-French

Associate Professor, Director of Choral Activities, Vocal Arts Area Coordinator
Area: Vocal Arts

Phone: 817-272-2435
Email: kenaston@uta.edu
Office Location: FA 243
Degree(s): D.M.A. University of North Texas, M.M. Southern Methodist University, M.S.M. Southern Methodist University, B.A. West Virginia Wesleyan College
Mentis Profile: https://www.uta.edu/profiles/karen-kenaston-french

Karen Kenaston-French is in her 11th year as Associate Professor and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Texas Arlington, where she conducts the A Cappella Choir, teaches graduate and undergraduate conducting, and heads the Vocal Area. Under her direction the UTA A Cappella Choir has performed at TMEA, SWACDA, and national ACDA conventions and has made appearances with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Texas Ballet Theatre, the Fort Worth Chorale, and the Rolling Stones.

Prior to her arrival at UTA, Dr. Kenaston-French served as Director of Choral Activities at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, where she led the Chamber Singers in two appearances at the Tennessee Music Education Association state conference, and in master classes with Chanticleer, Cantus, and Libby Larsen. She taught conducting at Southern Methodist University and the University of North Texas, and was director of music ministries at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in Irving, Texas from 1986-1998.

Dr. Kenaston-French has been guest conductor for choirs in Colorado, Michigan and Tennessee, for numerous TMEA region choirs, for the American Festival of the Arts (AFA), and is a frequent clinician and adjudicator of high school choirs across the state. She serves as artistic director of the highly successful All-State Choir Camp, One Last Look Workshop, and the Area Workshop at UTA, which collectively attract more than 500 students each year. She continues to share her experience in church music as a faculty member for SMU’s Church Music Summer Seminar and as clinician for church choirs. Beginning with the 2019-2020 season Dr. Kenaston-French will take over as Artistic Director/Conductor of the Ft. Worth Chorale, following Jerry McCoy as only the fifth conductor in the organization’s 56-year history.

Dr. Kenaston-French holds a B.A. in vocal performance 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. She studied conducting with Jerry McCoy, Mel Ivey, Lloyd Pfautsch, Jane Marshall, and Larry Parsons, and in 2011 was a conductor for the Choral/Orchestral Master Class of the Oregon Bach Festival, under Helmut Rilling and Jeffrey Kahane. Vocal studies include graduate work with Lynn Eustis at UNT and Linda Baer at SMU. Her article “The Teachings of Jean‐Antoine Bérard” was published in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Journal of Singing in November 2009. She sang in the Dallas Symphony Chorus from 1993-2003, and was selected by national audition to sing in the first Robert Shaw Festival Chorus at Carnegie Hall in 1991.