About Ken Townshend
Some artists' paths toward recording music are direct and straightforward, some are curvy yet still basically follow one path, and then there are those whose trips include waysides, detours, roadblocks, and diversions. Their voyages take determination and perseverance. Ken Townshend is one such musician. It's fortunate for fans of romantic piano and keyboard music that he has ended up where he is now.
Born and raised in Tachikawa, Japan, Ken considers it among the best times of his life. His mother was Japanese while his father was American and in the US military. "I have to say that I do…miss my childhood and growing up in Japan. I was the happiest there." Ken's mother immersed him in Japanese culture. "My mom did a lot in traditional Japanese art. She loved to flower arrange, she did beautiful calligraphy of Japanese words and names; she played the koto and loved to dance traditional Japanese dances." However, Ken was exposed to more music than just Japanese, as both parents listened to music constantly. His father's taste ran the gamut from classical piano to Herb Alpert to Ray Coniff, while his mother also loved Engelbert Humperdinck.
I had a calling or dream when I was 5 years old, that would stay with me all my life. The dream was that music would be my life and that I could help people with that gift. I started out classically trained in piano and when I hit my teenage years, I loved to rock out.
As a youngster, Ken wanted to take flute lessons but settled for piano. He developed an affinity for the instrument when he heard a record about Peter the Piano and how the boy in the story hated the piano but came to love it. After the family moved to the US, Ken (a teenager at the time) attended the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, studying composition and orchestration. A turning point occurred when, while attending Drexel University in pursuit of an engineering degree, he met Professor Alfred Blatter, head of the music department. "I took all the classes he taught…we felt like kindred spirits…he was an inspiration…he rekindled my passion for…music from an academic standpoint."
When I was in my 20’s I went and studied Composition and Orchestration. Even when I worked toward my engineering degree in computer chip design, I met a professor named Alfred Blatter (he was a professor at Curtis School of Music and the head of the music department at my college) who inspired me and became my kindred spirit. Music has always been my dream and passion.
Ken gravitated toward progressive rock music and co-founded a band, playing keyboards and piano, playing originals that sounded like Rush, Genesis, and others. Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells made a huge impact on him (as it did on many others). The band never developed a following,so Ken turned toward his interest to computers, electronics, and engineering, beginning a career at Ritz Camera where he eventually became a technical service manager. His success at Ritz led him to seek a career in designing computer chips, putting his music career on hold. "Music was still there though, I was just listening and being inspired."His inner feelings would not be denied, though. "…one day I looked up and saw the advent of CD-R and that’s when it started to hit me again - the music dream, [the] passion...When I was working for Lockheed Martin, I went into a Sam Ash one day and I found myself buying a Kurzweil K2000, which in its time was the best sampling keyboard." Finally, the die was cast. Music was going to be part of Ken Townshend's future. He was merely "taking the long way home," as he puts it.
I’m super eclectic. My favorite music today is Hans Zimmer (Film Score composer) to Sarah Brightman (I love Sarah’s way of taking all music styles and integrating it all for her expression), they are my biggest influences.
My very first CD was a group project with a group of blocked artist's (including me), the creativity class was called “The Artist’s Way”. My mom (a year or so later) was going through her final months and I met the caretakers and nurses of my local hospice called “Caring Hospice". I started my second CD “Serene Healing" and when it came out of production, I donated some to the hospice group and the CD’s were given to many families that needed to de-stress through tough times of a sick loved one. The nurses of that local hospice loved the gift of music and families gave feedback of how it meant a lot to them, that the music gave them peace and comfort that the nurses got a grant from the “Hospice Foundation” to work on “Gentle Beauty” In 2007 I put out a that CD and in general it did well, it was out on a radio promotion, also MG Music had picked it up and repackaged it. My main focus was and is to create music, that helps destress and gives people some peace, personal reflection time, and in that process will help them heal.
My passion has always been and always will be music and collaboration with many people. I love collaboration (it’s my idea of a grown up sandbox, where many people can come together and add their voice) I love working with lots of styles and having people add their voice or self expression to mine, it makes for an amazing synergy for creativity, imagination and wonderful friendships.
My influences could go on for a huge list but I love multiple genres (not in any order): dance music, electronic, trance, classical, world music (such as Irish music I love it), jazz, film scores, musicals, progressive rock and metal, I would like to combine all of It one day.
My family would listen to tons of things from Beethoven Piano Sonatas, classical music to Tom Jones. My first major impact in music was in the 70’s, My sister was a huge Mike Oldfield fan and I love Tubular Bells, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, to Rush, Deep Purple and many other bands like that. I play piano, keyboards, ukulele and guitar.
Despite the roadblocks, the detours, the exits to explore waysides, Ken Townshend continues his voyage of self-discovery. His music serves as a soundtrack of his evolving self-awareness and his devotion to his life-long calling.