Charles (C.E.) Whalen is a multi-faceted musician who’s been composing, arranging, performing, and recording for more than two decades. Skilled in a variety of instruments and styles, Charles is most passionate about exploring musical traditions and international identities through his work. He’s currently composing an open-ended series for two pianos that draw inspiration from Western classical music, popular music, and visual art.
Whalen’s work reflects a dedication to storytelling through original music. Best described as 21st-century classical, his compositions lie at the intersection of popular and classical styles, and are presented in a simple, straightforward fashion. At the same time, he draws on his knack for problem solving by arranging music for an extensive list of musicians, including the Opera Orchestra at Teatro del Lago (Frutillar, Chile), Ensemble Robot (Christine Southworth), and Unfinished Productions (Kurt Bigenho).
Whalen has played a variety of instruments with groups including the chamber-pop band Twittering Machine, Gamelan Galak Tika, and the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME); and on international stages including Carnegie Hall, SXSW, and Lyra Hall in Fujisawa, Japan.
After earning a Bachelors degree in Classical Music Composition from Georgia State University and an MFA from New England Conservatory, Charles worked as a music professor at Morris Brown College in Atlanta. He’s also worked in the library and promotions department of classical-music publisher Boosey & Hawkes, and as music coordinator for 11 time GRAMMY winner Paquito D’Rivera. Based in New York City, Whalen is currently music coordinator for Radio Orchestra New York.