Ken Ulansey

Clarinet and saxophone


 Ken Ulansey, Penn Council for the Arts winner and Pew finalist, plays alto and soprano sax, Irish whistle, and clarinet. He is a musical chameleon, having played contemporary classical music with Relache, jazz with his own award-winning band, Latin with Synthesis and Minas, and folk music with most of the area’s and even the nation’s leading songwriters.

My work with Intercultural Journeys is an outgrowth of a year-long trip I took, crossing Greece, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. I found each nation’s culture to be a deep well, and the music of each one worth a life’s study. My own music, as well, seemed of interest wherever I travelled, and led to musical exchanges of such profound warmth that my soul was transformed. Returning home, I fell into an exploration of the music of my own culture, the Klezmer music of the Eastern European Jews, while maintaining a curiosity about the music of the Arabic and Hindu worlds. Intercultural Journeys has enabled me to continue growing in this music, while allowing me to attempt to use music in the service of my ideals—that the arts can bring the world together in ways that diplomacy and politics can never touch.

Besides leading his own band that specializes in swing, Motown, Latin, pop, zydeco and oldies, Ken has toured extensively in Europe and the States, played on nearly two hundred recordings, and worked in collaboration with dancers, film-makers, poets and story-tellers.