Kendra Wheeler is a saxophonist, educator, chamber musician, and collaborator, with academic emphases in musicology and music theory. She has been an active advocate for music education; as well as, for the inclusion, visibility, and support of underrepresented and marginalized groups within classical, contemporary, and new music disciplines. Moreover, her dissertation entitled “Working at the Intersection of Music and Identity to Build Inclusive Communities” builds on the contributions of thinkers such as Stuart Hall, Simon Frith and Audre Lorde in order to explain how identity is expressed in every aspect of our musical output and that music and identity cannot be separated from one another.
Within Wheeler’s artistry and teaching she aims to promote, advocate, teach and perform new works that embrace a multitude of cultures and perspectives. It is also important to her that she and her students have the opportunity to study, read, and engage with diverse scholars and scholarship. Wheeler also embraces finding new mediums for the saxophone through interdisciplinary collaborations. To this end, she is a member of Alecto Duo, along with Kakia Gkoudina (composer, electronics, visuals). While often political in nature, Alecto Duo’s work is audiovisual, consisting of elements of contemporary music and cinematic tradition. The audiovisual nature of Alecto’s work, as well as the way that we try to form our narratives—on the meeting point of musical and extra musical traditions—is a core part of who we are. The duo was formed in 2018 and since has performed in Croatia at the World Saxophone Congress, Cincinnati Ohio and the 2018 Biennial NASA Conference, and The Women Composers Festival in Hartford, Connecticut. Please visit the Alecto Duo website or YouTube page.
Wheeler has been the recipient of numerous scholarships, grants, and awards including prizes from PanAmerican International Saxophone Competition, North International Music Competition, Thursday Musical, Vandoren Emerging Artist, and Downbeat Magazine. She received her Master of Music degree in saxophone performance under Preston Duncan from the University of Minnesota where she also received her Bachelor of Music Education degree under Eugene Rousseau. In the Fall of 2018, Wheeler began her Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) degree at Michigan State University under the study of Joseph Lulloff. As of Spring 2021 she is ABD, awaiting to defend her dissertation. For the Fall semester of 2020, Wheeler was the Visiting Professor of Saxophone at the Crane School of Music, at SUNY Potsdam.