Kenneth Hesketh began composing whilst a chorister at Liverpool Cathedral, later studying at the Royal College of Music. He attended Tanglewood in 1995 where he studied with Henri Dutilleux and was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the Toepfer Foundation at the behest of Sir Simon Rattle. He is a professor at the Royal College of Music and honorary professor at Liverpool University. He was New Music Fellow at Kettle's Yard, Cambridge from 2003-2005. He currently holds the Composer in the House position with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
He has received many commissions from major performing organisations in Europe, Canada and the US. Susanna Malkki chose his work for her opening concert as Music Director of Ensemble intercontemporain and his music has been featured in concerts by Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, the SWR Orchester Baden-Baden, Psappha, the ASKO ensemble and BBC NOW. Hesketh’s transcription of Aphex Twin’s Polygon Window was part of the hugely successful London Sinfonietta and WARP records collaboration which toured Europe and was released on CD.
Hesketh’s works for symphonic wind band have become contemporary classics of the genre (Danceries, Masque, Diaghilev Dances). Regular performances of them around the world have led to British, Japanese, American and Canadian commercial recordings. These works are frequently set as competition test pieces. His work "The Alchymst's Journal" for brass band was released in 2008 on the NMC label whilst his works for symphonic wind band have been widely recorded on American, Japanese and British labels.