Having been born around the Trinidadian culture, Kendall Williams has adopted the country's national instrument, the steel pan. From as early as the age of four, Kendall made efforts to mimic his parents as they displayed their talents in a Miami-based steel band. It wasn't long before his efforts turned into a reality as he developed his skills and passion for the instrument. As he got older his passion brought out a connection to music, and he was able to perform with large, world-renowned steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago as well as bands in the New York-based scene for years and counting. He took things a step further when he graduated from Florida Memorial University with a BA in Music under the direction of Dr. Dawn Batson, with his main instrument being the steel pan. He continued to further his studies at NYU Steinhardt, where he pursued a Master of Music Degree in Music Theory & Composition, studying with Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and Rich Shemaria. There he also actively participated in the NYU Steel band under the leadership of Artist Faculty member Josh Quillen.
As he moved closer to graduating, his goals included composing and arranging music that could further showcase the steel pan for the virtuous instrument it is, while bringing his unique style to more conventional instruments. Now that he has graduated, he aggressively pursues a career as a composer, arranger, educator, and advocate for the steel pan instrument. He works to open people’s minds to the possibilities steel pan can offer the world by showing that the instrument is far more versatile than it may seem. In 2013, 2015, 2017, and 2020 he had music for steel pan and contemporary ensemble programmed on the Bang on a Can Marathon. Just before that, he was awarded the opportunity to work with the Brooklyn Philharmonic on a project that involved steel pan and contemporary music compositions.
In 2014 he was the Van Lier Fellow with the American Composers Orchestra. In addition, he is also currently a doctoral student in music composition at Princeton University! There he studies under the auspices of Dan Trueman, Steve Mackey, Dmitri Tymockzo, and So Percussion. In his most recent years, he has been actively lecturing and leading workshops at various colleges, universities, and grade schools across the United States, while he completes his dissertation. Presently, his goals include establishing steel pan music programs in colleges and universities that will allow musicians to major in steel pan. While pursuing that, he also sits as CEO of Pan in Motion, an organization that he started to promote history, education, and sustainability in steel pan. To learn more, keep up with Kendall on his website.