Professor of music theory and director of the Arnold Shaw Popular Music Research Center, Ken Hanlon attended Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Armand Sarro. Hanlon has performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, played for traveling Broadway shows, and backed up such acts as Mel Torme, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Lana Cantrell, and the Temptations, among others.
Hanlon joined the music faculty at UNLV in 1970 and served as chair of the music department and has been a member of the Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra. He helped found the Nevada Dance Theater (now Nevada Ballet Theatre) in 1972 and was instrumental in the establishment of the Nevada School for the Arts, New World Brass Quintet, Sierra Winds, Las Vegas Opera Association, Las Vegas Chamber Players, Las Vegas Jazz Society and other arts organizations. In 1984, Hanlon was chosen to receive the Nevada Governor’s Arts Award as an arts educator. Hanlon is president of the International Trombone Association (ITA).
Hanlon’s publications include editions of eighteenth-century trombone music, an article on the music of Las Vegas and Reno in the Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, and reviews of jazz CDs and concerts for the Las Vegas Jazz Society. He has produced 15 albums for TNC Jazz that feature jazz artists Eddie Gomez, Eliot Zigmund, Stefan Karlsson, Carl Fontana, Jiggs Whigham, Marvin Stamm, Tom Warrington, Ed Soph, Joe Lano, and others. He also produced the 2002 radio series, Jazz Las Vegas, including programs on Joe Williams, Johnny Pate, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Marlena Shaw, Joe Lano, Walt Blanton, Stefan Karlsson, Tom Warrington, the Cunninghams, Russ Freeman, Jack Montrose, Carson Smith and Carl Fontana. He is currently working on a biography of the jazz trombonist Carl Fontana.