Born in Madrid, Spain, timpanist Ken Dean has lived in Albuquerque since the age of five. Ken was inspired to study music after taking an aptitude test for music and scoring well. He quickly became interested in playing drums, and he has felt the need to play ever since. He began playing timpani in junior high school and joined the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra at age 18. He attended the University of New Mexico, studying percussion with Robyn Shulkowski.

Ken’s fascination with timpani stems partly from the challenge of getting everything right consistently, as the drums do not always cooperate. Ken also discovered a fascination with the jaw harp after encountering a composition by Charles Ives that utilized the instrument. This has led him to performing eighteenth-century compositions actually written for the instrument. Ken also spent a fair amount of time involved in concert production, ultimately becoming Production Manager of the New Mexico Philharmonic in the early 1990s.

Ken says performing with The Santa Fe Symphony has provided a wonderful platform in which to perform; the structure of the organization gives an important voice to the musicians, allowing them a hand in determining their future.

Ken’s other interests include marksmanship, tennis, astronomy, and history.