"When the short form ventures give way to the more expansive and patiently crafted soundscapes, Kono moves effortlessly among an entire palette of woodwind instruments, crafting elegant melodies and clear, economical improvisations.” (College Music Symposium review of ‘Don’t Blink’—2019)
Since moving to New York City from his native home of Vermont in 1999, Ben Kono’s unique voice on woodwinds has graced the recordings and performances of jazz legends Bob Berg, Michael Brecker, Wynton Marsalis, Christian McBride and David Liebman; composers Darcy James Argue, Miho Hazama, Remy Le Boeuf and Ted Nash; and superstars Patti Austin, Hugh Jackman and Natalie Cole among others. He is a member of the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, the BMI Jazz Composers Orchestra, the Ed Palermo Big Band, the Jihye Lee Jazz Orchestra, and has held chairs in many Broadway productions including the eleven-year run of Jersey Boys. In 2013 and again in 2018, he received commissions from Chamber Music America to compose for his own critically acclaimed ensemble The Ben Kono Group, releasing two recordings and presenting concerts and clinics throughout the United States. And in 2023 his first opera was premiered by Whitesnake Projects to bring attention to anti-Asian violence in the U.S. Mr. Kono appears on over a hundred recordings and is a Grammy® Award winner. A passionate educator, he has served on faculties at University of North Texas, Morgan State University, Queens College, City College of New York, and is currently a teaching artist for the New York Pops Orchestra. Mr.Kono currently resides in the beautiful river town of Nyack, NY with his family and enjoys spending what’s left of his free time sailing on the Hudson estuary.