School of Music > Faculty & Staff > Faculty A-Z > Jeffrey Kowalkowski

Jeffrey Kowalkowski

  • Adjunct Faculty Member
  • Musicianship
  • Composition ​

  • 773-325-4392
BM DePaul University
MM DePaul University
DM Northwestern University 

Courses Taught
Applied Composition
Introduction to Composition
Community Audio Art
Composition and Sound Art for Non Music Majors
Rock Music of the World 

Jeffrey Kowalkowski (1967-) is a composer who has focused primarily on collaborative forms of composition for the past several years, in addition to recently completing his fourth string quartet.

He was Artistic Director of the Milkwood Foundation, a not-for-profit (501c3) sound art production company, which he co-founded (1998-2012).  In 2009 he co-founded the Chicago Scratch Orchestra, which has evolved into his current ensemble Articular Facet.

His opera collaboration "Bosch tapped the gas pedal and the caprice moved forward" was premiered in Hamburg in 1996, with composer Marko Ciciliani, with album release by No Harm Done Digital Media and Publishing, New York, 2000.  With Marquette Michigan percussionist, Carrie Biolo, he toured and released three CDs under the name Jack the Dog (Uvullittle Records, Madison, WI).

His music has been performed by ensembles in the U.S. and Western Europe: Articular Facet, Chicago Scratch Orchestra, Prop Theater Group (Chicago); Ensemble Modern (Cologne); Interzone Perceptible (Essen); Het Trio and ASKO Ensemble (Amsterdam), Ensemble Integrales (Hamburg). His radio works have been broadcast in Ireland (A.A.R.T.), Canada (Boreal), Berlin (Sender Freies), and the U.K. (BBC 3). He has been invited to the Center Acanthes in Avignon, France; June in Buffalo; the Gaudeamus and Darmstadt Festivals; and received a commission from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago for a sound installation and CD.

Jeff has also completed a sound installation “Incredible Ferntuity” for the Chicago Park District/Experimental Sound Studio's Floresonic Series at the Lincoln Park Conservatory (Fern Room).  His most recent sound installation "Holly" was chosen for the DePaul Art Museum's faculty show, summer 2013.

In 2011 Jeff was the recipient of a Helen and Tim Meier Foundation for the Arts Award of Artistic Achievement, which recognizes artists with over twenty years of innovation in their discipline.

As a keyboardist, Jeff has recorded and toured with Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra, and currently leads the Jeff Kowalkowski Trio (featuring Harrison Bankhead, bass and Avreeayl Ra, drums).  He also is a member of the Coalesce Duo (with violinist Elise Dalleska-DePaul CMD faculty).

Jeff is a dedicated and passionate teacher.  He has taught at DePaul University School of Music and in the Community Music Division since 1996.  He also teaches at Northeastern Illinois University, since 2002.  He teaches general music classes, on-line classes, music theory at all levels, orchestration, form and analysis, composition and sound art, experiential, and service-learning based courses.  Every August, he teaches theory, composition and improvisation at the Chicago Piano Festival at NEIU. 

Jeff has also been a guest composer and lecturer at Oberlin Conservatory, and the School of the Art Institute.   He has received several Illinois Arts Council Arts-in-Education grants.  He received a Met-Life Meet the Composer Grant for the composition of a double percussion concerto, which was premiered by the Marquette Symphony in 2009.  Jeff has also composed, performed, and toured with the Chicago art collective Lucky Pierre since 1998, and co-organized the New Music at the Green Mill concert series since 1991.

Recently he has completed two film scores of original music: Mark Siska's Compass Cabaret 55, a documentary about the pioneering comedy troup from the late 1950s in Hyde Park, Chicago.  Also, Patrick Meegan's Cinewava which is a short virtual reality/interactive play.  He is currently composing new music for Prop Theater's 2016 production of Brecht's "Mother Courage."

Jeff was awarded two composer-residencies at the Ragdale Artists Colony in Lake Forest Illinois, Summer 2014.  The first was a rehearsal and planning residency with Articular Facet, the second was for personal composition time.