Ken Selden

Ken Selden was appointed conductor and music director of the Symphony Orchestra and New Music Ensemble at Portland State University in the fall of 2006. Under his direction, the PSU Symphony has received three awards in Adventurous Programming from ASCAP and the League of American Orchestras.


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.


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 has 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.


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 as well as 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. Selden has appeared as guest conductor of the Oregon Symphony, Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Portland Youth Philharmonic, and the Newport Symphony. His recording of Mahler and Debussy arrangements with the newly established Martingale Ensemble was released on MSR Classics.