Christopher Kendall Award

2019 Recipient


Founded in 2011 by alumni Jack Stratton (BFA ’10, performing arts technology), Theo Katzman (BFA ‘08, jazz & contemporary improvisation), Woody Goss (BFA ’11, jazz & contemporary improvisation), and Joe Dart (attended 2009-10, jazz studies and bass), Vulfpeck plays funk music that the Wall Street Journal has called “gritty, in-your-face, not-prettified funk played with fire.” Vulfpeck first came together as a rhythm section for a performance at the Duderstadt Center. The band was conceived as an imagined German version of the U.S. session musicians of the 1960s such as Funk Brothers, Wrecking Crew, and Muscle Shoals. Their first recording, “Beastly,” was released in April 2011 as a YouTube video. Since then, Vulfpeck has toured frequently, most recently selling out major venues across America and Europe. The band has collaborated with musicians such as Bootsy Collins, Bernard Purdie, Darren Criss, and Jon Batiste, and has released four EPs and four albums, two of which broke the top-20 on the Billboard R&B charts. Their track “Back Pocket” was used in an iPhone X commercial and the band performed on the Stephen Colbert Show in November 2015. In order to assert ownership and control their own music and its distribution, Vulfpeck releases music under their own record label, Vulf Records. The band has also collaborated with GoodHertz (founded by SMTD alumni Devin Kerr and TaeHo Park) to create the Vulf Compressor production tool.


Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago


Christopher Koelsch


PRISM Quartet