Ken Selden was appointed conductor and music director of the Symphony Orchestra and New Music Ensemble at Portland State University in fall 2006. Under his direction, the PSU Symphony has received three awards in Adventurous Programming from ASCAP and the League of American Orchestras.
An advocate for new music, Selden has worked with composers Pierre Boulez, John Cage and Tan Dun, and has conducted recent world premieres of music by Peter Lieberson, Michael Nyman and Stephen Paulus. Prior to his appointment at PSU, Selden led a series of performances as assistant conductor of two innovative ensembles – the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the Eos Orchestra. He also worked extensively with the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestras and the New Jersey Youth Symphony, and was music director of orchestras at Brooklyn College and Columbia University.
Since arriving in Portland, Selden has appeared as guest conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Portland Youth Philharmonic and the Newport Symphony. Most recently, his recording of Mahler and Debussy arrangements with the newly established Martingale Ensemble was released on MSR Classics.
Recent guest artists with the PSU Symphony include Manuel Barrueco, Orli Shaham, Matt Haimovitz, Anna Polonsky and Awadagin Pratt, as well as PSU faculty members Hamilton Cheifetz, Carol Sindell and Richard Zeller. In addition to its own concert schedule, the PSU Orchestra performs annually with the PSU Opera Theatre and The Portland Ballet.
Selden is a graduate of New England Conservatory, Indiana University and Peabody Conservatory. He studied violin with James Buswell and Yuval Yaron, and conducting with Gustav Meier and Markand Thakar. He also performed in master classes for Neeme Jarvi, Jorma Panula and Yuri Temirkanov, and attended the National Conducting Institute (Kennedy Center), where he worked with Leonard Slatkin and conducted the National Symphony.
Selden made his debut with the National Arts Center Orchestra at the invitation of Pinchas Zuckerman, and subsequently appeared with orchestras of Denver, Baltimore, Minnesota and North Carolina, and at music festivals in the United States, Israel, Japan, Romania and Switzerland. Additionally, he has performed with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at the David Oistrakh Festival and conducted orchestras in Finland, Italy and Belgium.