The Genkin Philarmonic

Genkin Philharmonic

The Genkin Philharmonic, a Buffalo (NY) based ten-piece electro-acoustic chamber ensemble, was founded in 2000 by Jon Nelson at The University at Buffalo Music Department. Originally conceived as a class at UB, its mission was to provide a uniquely challenging opportunity for students to study and perform contemporary music that draws on musical genres spanning rock, jazz, improvised and classical music.

The current Genkin is made up of professional players, drawing from a diverse pool of musicians in the Buffalo area, its core membership comprised of UB Faculty and alumni. Other members come from the Buffalo Philharmonic, Fisher-Price, and the Hallwalls Arts Collective. This hybrid of top-level classical, new music, and improvising performers, creates a band that offers a dizzying array of styles in concert.

The band gave an historic performance at the 2002 International Trumpet Guild Conference, and played for sold out crowds Mexico City at the 2003 Condesa Jazz Festival and the Festival Centro Historico. The Genkin has also been featured at Buffalo area venues including Nietzsche’s, Calumet Arts Café, UB, Fredonia College, and Hallwalls.

Genkin Philharmonic

The band approaches its repertoire from three vantage points:

  • Unique arrangements of unusual cover tunes, with special effort paid to recreating the technical virtuosity and musical spirit of the original versions (Jimi Hendrix, King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Radiohead).
  • Creation of original works, and interpreting works of living composers (Nelson, Didkovsky, Harnas). These pieces have been written for Genkin, or have been adapted for the group by the composers.
  • Arrangements of works from the Classical repertory that pre-date the invention of electronic instruments (Ives and Prokofiev). These arrangements remain faithful to the original versions, with respect to the actual written notes.

The Genkin Philharmonic released its self-titled debut CD in 2007, on the 8bells label. The disc features music by King Crimson, Frank Zappa, Charles Ives, Serge Prokofiev, Radiohead, Emil Harnas 2, Nick Didkovsky, and Jon Nelson.

Biographies of individual members can be found here.

Genkin Philharmonic

Upcoming Performances

Check the events page for info on future concerts

Recent Press

Buffalo News (May 2, 2010)
Music of Zappa, Hendrix taken to its complicated heights

Buffalo News (September 18, 2009)
Club Chatter


"Gyp the Blood" or
"Hearst!? Which is Worst?!"
by Charles Ives
arranged by Jon Nelson
Pygmy Twylyte/
Marqueson's Chicken/
Eat That Question/
Echidna's Arf
by Frank Zappa
arranged by Jon Nelson
Performed at Hallwalls
Contemporary Arts Center
Buffalo, NY
June in Buffalo, 2011


Genkin has just released its first CD, on the 8bells label. The disc is a tribute to the music within, and to the young players who when they joined the band, were pretty much lost on the idea. In time, everyone came around, (after much practicing), and contributed some very special performances. This disc is proof that young players are really capable of anything, no matter their technical background or level of musical sophistication.

Genkin CD


  1. Song for a Dead King - Jon Nelson (mp3 excerpt)
  2. Plague - Nick Didkovsky (mp3 excerpt)
  3. Country Band March - Charles Ives (mp3 excerpt)
  4. Vrooom - King Crimson (mp3 excerpt)
  5. Echidna's Arf - Frank Zappa (mp3 excerpt)
  6. Ala et Lolly (mvt. 2) - Serge Prokofiev (mp3 excerpt)
  7. 896 Lightyears - Emil Harnas 2 (mp3 excerpt)
  8. Marqueson’s Chicken - Frank Zappa (mp3 excerpt)
  9. Solo - Steve Baczkowski (mp3 excerpt)
  10. Morning Bell - Radiohead (mp3 excerpt)
  11. Thrak - King Crimson (mp3 excerpt)
  12. Preaching to the Converted - Nick Didkovsky (mp3 excerpt)

The disc can be purchased at


UB Center for the Arts
September 21, 2010
Genkin Philharmonic Genkin Philharmonic Genkin Philharmonic Genkin Philharmonic Genkin Philharmonic Genkin Philharmonic
Photos by Irene Haupt

For more information on the Genkin Philharmonic, contact Jon Nelson.