Conductor Kedrick Armstrong uses joy and curiosity for all music in his pursuit to foster understanding and fellowship within diverse communities. Praised by the Chicago Tribune for his ability to “simply let the score speak for itself,” Kedrick enjoys a wide range of work spanning early music to premiering new works.
This season, Kedrick returns to the Knox-Galesburg Symphony to conduct Handel’s Messiah after his debut performance conducting the orchestra in 2020. Following his successful debut, he received an invitation to lead a concert celebrating American women composers the following month. Kedrick is an alum of Chicago Sinfonietta’s Project Inclusion Freeman Conducting Fellow program, where he served as Assistant Conductor during the 2018-2019 season. He made his subscription debut conducting on the orchestra’s annual MLK Tribute Concert in 2019. Applauded for his “knack for balancing orchestral-choral forces,” Kedrick was invited back the following season, where he led the Chicago premiere of Joel Thompson’s Seven Last Words of the Unarmed with the Adrian Dunn Singers.
Kedrick shares his time between the concert stage and the opera pit. He will debut in 2022 with the DePaul Opera Theater conducting Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Kedrick also returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2023 to premiere a new opera, The Factotum, by Will Liverman and K Rico. He made his Chicago Opera Theater debut in 2021, leading the premiere of Matthew Recio’s The Puppy Episode, and also served as assistant conductor for Dan Shore’s Freedom Ride in 2020. Kedrick served as Guest Lecturer/Music Director for Monteverdi’s L’Orfero with Wheaton College’s Opera Mainstage.
Equally passionate about music education, Kedrick spent several seasons as Music Mentor/Supervisor for “EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts,” a special outreach and education project collaborating with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League. He also enjoyed working with Ravinia Festival’s REACH*TEACH*PLAY, Chicago Musical Pathways Initiative, and Chicago Sinfonietta’s Audience Matters.
Kedrick holds a B.M. in History and Literature from Wheaton College and is currently pursuing an M.M. in Orchestral Conducting from the University of Colorado-Boulder. His teachers and mentors include Gary Lewis, Mei-Ann Chen, Cliff Colnot, John Nelson, and Lidiya Yankovskaya. Kedrick uses his voice and platform as a Black conductor to advocate for classical music’s performance, publication, and preservation of minority voices. This advocacy has led to various speaking engagements and his current research into Black women composers within CU Boulder’s Helen Walker-Hill collection.