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Keane Southard

Keane Southard

Described as “a hugely prolific musician with a wide variety of skill sets,” Keane Southard (b. 1987) is a composer and pianist who believes deeply in the power of music to change how people think, feel, and act, and that it can be a catalyst for positive change in the world. His music has been described as “a terrific discovery” (Bandworld Magazine) and “highly-professional and well-orchestrated” (Portland Press Herald) and, taken as a whole, his works reflect his many diverse musical tastes, from medieval chant to 70's rock, Bach to the Blues, and 19th century romanticism to Latin dance forms

Southard has been a recipient of many awards including the 2018 Capital Hearings Young Composers Competition, the Cecil Effinger Composition Award and George Lynn Prize from The University of Colorado-Boulder, First Prize in the Longfellow Chorus International Composers Cantata Competition, the Charles B. Olson Young Composer Award, and the Ars Nova Singers Colorado Composers Competition. He has received commissions from the Colorado State Music Teachers Association, the Northeastern State University Wind Ensemble (OK), the Arrowhead Union High School Wind Ensemble (WI), the Sounds of Stow Chorus and Orchestra, pianist Christopher Janwong McKiggan, saxophonist Allison Dromgold Adams, and cellist Christine Thomas Tsen. He has been awarded residency fellowships at Playa and the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center and summer fellowships at the Bowdoin International Music Festival and Northeastern University Fusion Arts Exchange.

In the summer of 2016, Southard hiked the New England portion of the Appalachian Trail, a distance of more than 700 miles, which inspired the creation of his first symphony, commissioned by a consortium of orchestras throughout New England with premieres in the 2017-18 season. In 2016, “Waltzing Dervish: The Wind Music of Keane Southard,” recorded by the Northeastern State University Wind Ensemble, was released and hailed as a “major debut disc” (

Southard earned his B.M. from the Conservatory at Baldwin Wallace University in composition and theory, his M.M from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in composition at the Eastman School of Music. His primary composition teachers include Kenneth Girard, Loris Chobanian, Daniel Kellogg, Jeffrey Nytch, Carter Pann, Richard Toensing, Allen Shawn, and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, plus additional studies with Samuel Adler, Derek Bermel, João Guilherme Ripper, Brian Robison, and Hillary Zipper.

An avid student of language and culture, he speaks Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian, and German in addition to English. He spent 2013 in Brazil as a Fulbright scholar researching music education and has also taught at Bennington College in Vermont.

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