Ken Allen

Ken is a freelance chamber and orchestral musician whose recent engagements include performances with Cape Symphony, Lexington Symphony, Lowell Chamber Orchestra, New England Repertory Orchestra, Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Wagner in Vermont summer festival.

He is a founder and current president of the Massachusetts Viola Society, which began as a series of online conversations and workshops for local violists during the early days of the coronavirus lockdown. What started as a creative way to stay connected with his colleagues is now an approved 501(c)(3) and partner organization of the American Viola Society. He is also a member of the American String Teachers Association, Boston Musicians' Association, and Early Music America.

Growing up, during his years in the Eastern Youth Orchestra, Ken was always fascinated by the strings in general (and the viola in particular) and loved to check out scores from the library to follow along with cassette recordings of his favorite music. His non-viola passions were math, modern dance, poetry and fiction. He completed his undergraduate degree with highest honors in English on full scholarship at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, after which he won a Graduate Prize Fellowship to further his English studies at Harvard.

Ken received his Master of Music degree in viola performance from the Boston Conservatory, where his teachers were Lila Brown and Leonard Matczynski. He went on to earn a Historical Performance graduate diploma from the Longy School of Music, studying baroque viola with Dana Maiben, in addition to viola with Sarah Darling and harpsichord with Vivian Montgomery. His earlier viola teachers include David Rubinstein, Gillian Rogell, and Anne Hooper Webb. He has also studied baroque viola with Jane Starkman, and his piano teachers include Lorraine Hale Robinson, Jacqueline Schwab, and Michael Lewin.

He resides with his husband and cat in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Marlboro, Vermont. His violas were made by Douglas Cox.

A man holding a violin in his hands.
Photo: Dana Muldoon