Music to a Marathoner’s Ears

March 05, 2012 at 11:00am EST | by Barbara Huebner

Composer and violist Kenji Bunch has twice run the ING New York City Marathon, and apparently it made quite an impression. On Saturday night his newest work, 26.2, received its world-premiere performance.

In an article on, Bunch described the work as a tone poem for French horn and string trio. Commissioned and performed by the Alias Chamber Ensemble of Nashville, the 12-minute work takes listeners from the cold of an early morning start through the moods of the many neighborhoods along the five-borough course to "hitting the wall" late in the race. "My wife and I took up long-distance running a few years ago as something fun to do together," Bunch told the website. "We ran our first New York City Marathon in 2008, and the new piece attempts to capture that experience."

The Alias Chamber Ensemble, a 2011 Grammy Award nominee, plans to record 26.2 as part of a CD to be released this fall.


“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg