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Ken Hakoda is enjoying his eighth season as the music director/conductor of the Salina Symphony. During his tenure as music director, the Symphony has enjoyed tremendous growth in ticket sales with an average concert attendance of 900. The Salina Youth Symphony Program has also flourished under his leadership, growing from one orchestra into a comprehensive educational program involving 150 students from grade school through high school.
In addition to his work with the Symphony, Hakoda serves as assistant professor of music at Kansas Wesleyan University, where he teaches orchestra, choir, music education and music theory classes. He also directs choir at St. John’s Lutheran Church and produces the annual KWU/Salina Symphony Opera.
A native of Japan, Hakoda has lived in the United States since 1989. He earned master of music degrees in instrumental conducting and theory/composition from Wichita State University and bachelor’s degrees in theory/composition and music education from St. Olaf College. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Hakoda is also known for his talent as a composer with over 20 works to his credit. He has won a number of awards and honors as a composer, including the 1998 Claude T. Smith Phi Beta Mu Composition Contest, the 1996 MMEA Collegiate Composition Contest and a Departmental Distinction at St. Olaf College. Hakoda also received the 2003 Outstanding Young Band Director Award from Kansas Bandmasters Association.