Ken Bits was written for and dedicated to Michael Paige, the 1993–94 Senior Fulbright Lecturer in international curriculum development (and fine amateur trumpet player) at Kenyatta University. The piece is in three short movements depicting various “events” during our year in Kenya. Jua Kali Repairman is a musical portrait of the ingenious artisans of Kenya who can fix just about anything with whatever is lying around (jua kali translates to “under the sun”). Sundowner is a quiet interlude, depicting that time of the day when one relaxes under a favorite tree, sipping a drink and talking with friends. Matatu Alert is a musical representation of the ever present, maniacal drivers and their small buses, joyfully terrorizing Kenyans and wildlife alike.
Paul Basler (b. 1963, Milwaukee), 1993–94 Fulbright Senior Lecturer in Music at Kenyatta University (Nairobi, Kenya), 1995–96 University of Florida Teacher of the Year and the 2001–03 College of Fine Arts University of Florida Research Foundation Professor is Professor of Music at the University of Florida where he teaches horn and undergraduate composition courses and has been a member of the faculty since 1993.
Basler has performed as guest artist at numerous international music festivals and has been a member of the Brevard, Charleston, Valdosta, Greenville, Asheville, Tallahassee and Gainesville Symphonies. He has received several American Cultural Affairs Specialist Grants from the U.S. Department of State and has served as Visiting Professsor with the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Culture and the National Conservatory of Music. One of the most performed composers of his generation, his music has been performed throughout the world and recent compositions have received performances at Carnegie Hall, the Tanglewood Music Center, the Spoleto Festival, Symphony Hall in Chicago, the Kennedy Center, the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Lincoln Center, the Sydney Opera House, the Aspen Music Festival, the Grand Teton Music Festival and in China by the Shanghai Philharmonic. He received his BM degree magna cum laude from the Florida State University, MM, MA, and DMA degrees from Stony Brook University. Basler’s horn teachers have included William Purvis, William Capps and Barry Benjamin and his composition teachers have been John Boda, John Downey, Bülent Arel, John Lessard and Billy Jim Layton.