David Keane | The Canadian Encyclopedia


David Keane

David (Roger) Keane. Composer, teacher, bassist, b Akron, O, 15 Nov 1943, naturalized Canadian 1974; B SC music education (Ohio State) 1965, B MUS (Ohio State) 1965, M MUS composition (Ohio State) 1967.

David Keane

David (Roger) Keane. Composer, teacher, bassist, b Akron, O, 15 Nov 1943, naturalized Canadian 1974; B SC music education (Ohio State) 1965, B MUS (Ohio State) 1965, M MUS composition (Ohio State) 1967. He studied piano with George Haddad and double bass with Theron McClure 1961-5, Robert Meyer 1968-70, and Allan Molitz 1971-2. He moved to Canada in 1967 and taught music in schools, played double bass 1969-70 in the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and instructed 1969-70 at Simon Fraser University. In 1970 he was appointed to Queen's University to teach composition and double bass and in 2011 is a professor emeritus (theory and composition) of its School of Music. He founded the university's Electroacoustic Music Studio in 1970 and was its director until 1997. His book Tape Music Composition (London 1980) is an important study of the aesthetics and technology of electronic music. He has written many articles and reviews about music technology, pedagogy, and aesthetics for Canadian Music Educator, Computer Music Journal, Canadian University Music Review, Musicworks, Queen's Quarterly, and other journals.

Keane has received many commissions from Canadian and European organizations and has travelled extensively in Europe and North America to deliver papers and to supervise performances of his compositions. He has used a wide variety of styles and media, and his prolific output ranges from works for traditional instruments to tape pieces and sound sculpture. His style was initially influenced by Hindemith, Bartók, Stravinsky, and early music (eg, Machaut). His interest in electronic music dates from 1963; much of his music involves electroacoustic aspects. After a brief flirtation with aleatoric music, his style became aligned more closely to minimalism, with highly concentrated melodic and rhythmic development. His music is a reaction against highly formalized structures and serialism; it evinces tonal centres but avoids functional harmony.

Keane is a founding member of the Canadian Electroacoustic Community and the Confédération internationale pour musique électroacoustique, a member of the Canadian League of Composers, and an associate of the Canadian Music Centre.

Selected Compositions

Music Theatre and Multimedia
The Devil's Constructs, opera (David Fanstone). 1978 (Kingston 1978). 7 voices, 2 tapes. Ms

Naissance. 1981. Vn, viola, violoncello, horn, accordion, 2 dancers. Ms

Automusicon. 1981 (Brussels 1981). 4 tapes, mixing console; rev as Infiniton. 1982 (Vancouver 1982). 4 tapes, mixing console, 8 slide projectors

Carmina Tenebrarum, opera (Keane). 1983 (Montreal 1985). Sop/dancer, tape, projections. Ms

La Aurora Estrellada. 1985 (Veradero Beach, Cuba 1985). Dancer, tape, projections. 1985. Cambridge Street CSR-8502

Soundlodge, sound sculpture (with sculptor Reinhard Reitzenstein). 1987 (Toronto 1987)

Lumina (Melba Cuddy). 1988. Ten, tape, with projections by Robert Mulder. Ms. 'Love song' 4-ACM 37 (Margison)

Selected Writings

"Some aspects of teaching electronic music composition," Interface, vol 8, no. 1, 1979

"Some practical aesthetic problems of electronic music composition," Interface, vol 8, no. 4, 1979

"A composer's view of music, cognition and emotion," Musical Quarterly, vol 67, Jul 1982

"The Bourges International Festival of Electronic Music: a retrospective," Computer Music Journal, vol 8, Fall 1984

"The birth of electronic music in Canada," Studies in Music from the University of Western Ontario, vol 9, 1984

"At the threshold of an aesthetic," The Language of Electroacoustic Music, ed Simon Emmerson (London 1986)

"Electroacoustic music in Canada: 1950-1984," Célébration, eds Godfrey Ridout and Talivaldis Kenins (Toronto 1984)

Orchestra and Band

Variations on a Theme of Guillaume de Machaut. 1975. Concert band. Ms

Orbis. 1981. 4 violin, string orch. Ms


Elegy. 1976. Db, tape. Ms. Music Gallery Editions MGE-29 (Quarrington)

Henge. 1978. Trb choir. American Society of University Composers Journal of Music Scores, vol 10, 1981

Hornbeam. 1979. Prepared horn, tape. Ms

Saxophonics. 1986. Saxophone, elec (tape). Ms

Nautilus. 1988. Cl, tape. Ms

Noctern. 1988. Sop, alto, tenor, recorder, vielle, lute, digital sampler. Ms

Turbotoccata. 1989. Hpd, elec. Ms

Dwelling. 1990. Saxophone, tape. Ms

Raw Umbra. 1991. Acc, bass clarinet, mar. Ms

Wirvel Wind. 1991. Trb, tape. Ms


Lyra. 1978. Pf, elec. Ms. Music Gallery Editions MGE-29 (Gaylord)

Fantasy for Two Pianos. 1982. Ms

Los Rayos de Sol. 1986. Pf. Ms

Choir and Voice

Evening Song (Bruce Elder). 1978. Sop, tape. Ms. 1979. Music Gallery Editions MGE-29 (Karen Skidmore)

Missa Brevis. 1982. SSAATTBB, fl, english horn. Ms

Laminae (Melba Cuddy). 1984. SATB, wind ensemble or string quartet. Ms


In Memoriam Hugh LeCaine. 1978. 1979. Music Gallery Editions MGE-29

La Cascade Enchantée. 1982. 1985. Cambridge Street CSR-8502

Elektronikus Mozaïk. 1984. 1985. Cambridge Street CSR-8502

Pianocentrix. 1988.

Further Reading