Kyle Wernke is a composer and conductor whose music has been described as “imaginative and infectious” (Michael Schelle) and “exemplifying all that is right with quality new music” (Douglas Knehans). His work explores dynamic, tonal, and textural extremes - often in rapid succession. Kyle’s work has been performed across the United States and around the world. His 2017 work Burst was recorded by the Brno Philharmonic for Ablaze Records’ album “Orchestral Masters, Vol. 6.” The work had subsequent performances by the Tampa Bay Symphony and the Musique en Seine Orchestre in Paris, France. His chamber music has been performed at the Walden School Creative Musicians Retreat, Charlotte New Music Festival, and June in Buffalo.
His 2021 cantata Da Vinci at the River was nominated for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music by Missouri University of Science and Technology where he serves as Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Orchestras, and Composer-in-Residence.
At S&T Wernke directs the orchestra and jazz ensembles and teaches courses in music composition, history, and theory. In this capacity he has lectured on the music of Webern for S&T’s Center for Science, Society, and Technology; spoken to the Dean’s Leadership Council about his work as a composer; graced the cover of the Arts, Languages, and Philosophy Department Newsletter; and been the recipient of a Faculty Achievement Award and Innovative Teaching Award. He currently lives in Rolla, MO with his wife, violist Lauren Perala, their dog Luna, and their three cats Pearl, Nubbins, and Sawadee.
"The music (and music making) of composer/conductor Kyle Wernke exhibits the best of his generation - integrity, sophistication, imagination and infectious personalities. An independent soul, without jumping on bandwagons and -isms, Wernke communicates with striking originality, sincerity of emotion, rough energy and contagious enthusiasm."
— Michael Schelle, Artist-in-Residence, Butler University
“Maestro Wernke leads from the podium with a poise and a clarity that is uncommon for a conductor of his age. He motivates his musicians to personally invest in every rehearsal and performance and to play with passionate expression, championing stalwarts of the repertoire (Schumann’s Requiem) as well as interpreting modern works (such as my own)... Maestro Wernke is a rising star and should be given every chance to inspire the next generation of musicians.”
— Luke Benton, Composer