Conductor, Nse (EN-say) Ekpo enjoys a varied career as a performer, educator, and content creator throughout the United States and abroad. Recent engagements have taken him to Pazardjik, Bulgaria where he has guest conducted the Pazardjik Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, Ekpo was named a finalist in two categories of the American Prize: Professional Orchestral Conducting, and the Ernst Bacon Award for the Programing of American Music (Professional Division). In the summer of 2018, Ekpo was invited along with 17 other creative artists from the US and abroad to be a resident at Rockland Woods Artist Residency Pilot Program in Illahe, Washington.
Dr. Ekpo is currently the Concert Band Director at Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington. While at Lakeside, Ekpo has created Music Among Friends: A faculty chamber music series, the Middle School Flash Festival, which was one of Lakeside’s first live-streamed events, and the Business Club at the Upper School. Prior to his appointment to Lakeside, Ekpo taught Music Appreciation at the University of South Carolina, and applied clarinet lessons at Lander University (SC).Ekpo has guest conducted the Puget Brass, Tacoma Community College Orchestra, the Issaquah Philharmonic, and The Seattle Pacific University Symphony Orchestra.
A GOMAP fellow at the University of Washington, he conducted the University of Washington Wind Ensemble on its tour of Japan in 2007. He has also conducted the Beijing Opera Company, the Xian Conservatory Orchestra while on tour as a conducting fellow at the Conductor’s Institute of South Carolina. As a scholar, Ekpo has twice presented at the Northwest National Association for Music Education (2011, 2017) and has been published as an assistant editor and contributor to Merideth Music’s Composer’s Insight series (volumes III, and IV respectively).
Winner of the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, Dr. Ekpo earned his doctoral degree from the University of South Carolina upon completion of his document, Expanding the American Canon: The Orchestral Music of Black American Composers. He completed coursework at the University of Washington while concentrating on wind band conducting and repertoire with Tim Salzman. While at the University of Washington, Ekpo conducted, the Concert Band, the Symphonic Band, and the Wind Ensemble. Ekpo was also the Graduate Assistant Director of the University of Washington Husky Marching Band for the 2007-2008 season where he was the chief architect of the 2007 Washington vs. Washington State Apple Cup halftime show. He received his master’s degree in orchestral conducting and his bachelor of music in music education from the University of South Carolina. Primary conducting teachers include Donald Portnoy, Timothy Salzman, and Peter Eros. He has also attended conducting master classes led by Gustav Meier at Peabody Conservatory. In addition to his musical training and accomplishments, Dr. Ekpo also holds a master of business administration (MBA) from the Darla Moore School of Business.
When not conducting, creating, or collaborating, Ekpo enjoys performing as a stand-up comic at Seattle area venues and living the dream with his wife and three children.