Award winning composer and television producer Ken Corday returns to campus for music recital

UC Santa Cruz Alumnus to perform solo piano recital

Ken Corday (Porter '75, aesthetic studies) is an award-winning composer and producer. 

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Ken Corday (Porter '75, aesthetic studies) is an award winning composer, television producer, and staunch supporter of the arts. 

Best known for producing the U.S.’s longest-running daytime soap opera, Days of Our Lives, Corday is a six-time daytime Emmy winner for music direction and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

On Nov. 17, Corday will perform in a solo piano recital at UCSC’s Music Center. 

"Any chance to return to my alma mater and encourage young minds to explore their own original creative pursuits is a blessing and a privilege that I do not take lightly," Corday said. "I am forever in awe at the vibrance and spirit of the UCSC community. I hope that students leave with a renewed sense of peace as they continue with their scholastic journeys. Go Slugs!"

Corday graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a Bachelor of Arts in Aesthetic Studies in 1975 and a Master’s degree in Music Composition from San Jose State University in 1977. He said that his music education at UCSC was instrumental for his work as a television producer, and wants to uplift current students pursuing similar careers. 

He has established two endowed chairs in the Arts Division over the past eight years, focusing his philanthropy at UCSC to music, film, media, and film writing courses. 

"We are overjoyed to welcome back eminent alumnus Ken Corday to UC Santa Cruz and the Music Center for this special solo piano recital,” said UCSC Arts Dean Celine Parrenas Shimizu. “While he is celebrated as the Executive Producer for Days of Our Lives, his multi-Emmy-winning compositions capture and deploy emotion so powerfully. It will be a moving experience for which our community of Banana Slugs is so excited.”

Corday established The Kenneth R. Corday Family Chair in Music for Film, Television, Emerging Media, and Multimedia Collaboration in June 2022. His generous and transformational gift is used to provide the appointed chair holder a scholarly allowance to support teaching, research, and service in music for film, television, and media. This is the second gift of its kind that Corday has made to UCSC. In 2015 he established a separate Chair in Writing for Television and Film dedicated to theater and new media arts education at UCSC.

“Ken's dedication to supporting arts education through two endowed chairs greatly enriches our programs,” Shimizu added. “His latest gift, The Kenneth R. Corday Family Chair in Music for Film, Television, Emerging Media, and Multimedia Collaboration, is a transformative contribution that will empower our faculty to continue shaping the next generation of creative minds in these fields."

Corday emphasizes that UCSC was instrumental in his educational development and his pursuit of the arts. 

“Once you’ve achieved a certain level of proficiency and professionalism in the world and have had the wherewithal to be charitable, your first look should be to the people that got you where you’re going or where you are,” Corday said in a past interview. “I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not gone to UC Santa Cruz and had not gone on to graduate school. So it’s time for me to give back.” 

The music recital will take place on Friday, Nov. 17 at the Music Center Recital Hall. Admission is open to UCSC students, staff, and faculty.