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 now 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 has received numerous national and international commissions from, amongst others, the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University, a Faber Millennium Commission for Birmingham Contemporary Music Group premiered under Sir Simon Rattle, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko, the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Vasilly Sinaisky, Hans Werner Henze and the Endymion Ensemble (in honour of Henze's 75th birthday), the Munich Biennale, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, the Michael Vyner Trust for the London Sinfonietta, The Opera Group, ensemble Psappha and Kissinger Sommer Internationales Musikfestival. 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. In 2007 Hesketh was made Composer in the House (Royal Philharmonic Society/ PRS Foundation scheme) with the RLPO.
In 2011 Notte Oscura for piano solo (Peter O'Hagan) was released on the UHR label, Point Forms (after Kandinsky) for basset clarinet was recorded for NMC by Mark Simpson and Ian Buckle, and Three Japanese Miniatures was released on the Prima Facie label (Clare Hammond).
Future performances include a series of twelve short pieces for piano titled Horae (pro Clara) for Clare Hammond to be premiered in its complete form at the Cheltenham Festival, and a new commission from the Royal Philharmonic Society Drummond Fund which resulted in new work for Phoenix Dance Theatre and Psappha to be toured nationally in 2013. This work, Forms entangled, shapes collided, has been choreographed by Sharon Watson and takes abstract ideas of DNA as its subject. His collaboration with Psappha has also resulted in a disc of his chamber music performed by them, released in 2013.