Kasey Knudsen is a San Francisco based saxophonist, composer & educator. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Composition from Berklee College of Music in 2002, Magna Cum Laude. She has been dubbed “one of the region’s most esteemed saxophonists” (Andrew Gilbert, San Francisco Classical Voice, 2018) and has “quietly become one of the essential voices in the Bay Area jazz scene” (Andrew Gilbert, East Bay Express, 2014). Knudsen was included in a list of “10 Female Instrumentalists Who Redefine Jazz” by Alexa Peters of Paste Magazine (2016) and voted “One of the Best Female Jazz Musicians in the East Bay” (CBS, SF local Bay Area, 2013).
As a composer, Knudsen has been commissioned by the San Jose Jazz ‘New Works Festival’ to write a piece and create an accompanying film in response to the global pandemic (2021). In 2020, she was the recipient of InterMusic SF’s Small Chamber Music Grant, funding the debut album of the Kasey Knudsen Sextet. In 2013, Knudsen was commissioned by Intersection For the Arts to compose and perform an evening of new work featuring her original music. In 2008, Knudsen was featured in a series presented by the De Young Museum, showcasing her composition inspired by visual artist Deborah Oropallo. In 2005, she was commissioned by the California Jazz Conservatory’s Emerging Artist Series to present an evening of original music.
In addition to leading a number of her own projects, as a co-leader, she is involved in several groups including the Schimscheimer Family Trio, the Holly Martins, the Lost Shapes and the Klaxon Mutant Allstars. Knudsen collaborates frequently with many of the most unique musical voices in the Bay Area including multiple performances across the US and Europe with TuneYards; a myriad of shows and festivals across the world with Fred Frith and the Gravity Band; a tour of the Pacific Northwest with the Charlie Hunter Quartet and a wide variety of performances with Erik Jekabson, the Ian Carey Quintet + 1, Ben Goldberg, the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, Beth Schenck, and many more.
As an educator, Knudsen specializes in the development of improvisation skills through the study of harmony, transcription and saxophone technique with a focus on sound production, articulation, phrasing and ear training. Currently, Knudsen is an Adjunct Professor of Jazz Studies at Sonoma State University. She has taught several classes and workshops at the California Jazz Conservatory, Berkeley High School, Piedmont High School, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Jazz Workshop, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Reno Jazz Festival and the UC Berkeley Young Musician’s Program.