University of Denver

Donald Keats


University of Denver
Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences
Lamont School of Music
7111 Montview Boulevard
Denver, Colorado 80220

Phone: (303) 871-6400

Position: Professor

Previous Appointments:

Past Positions:

1957-1975, Antioch College, Asst., Assoc., Full Professor;
1969-1970, University of Washington, Professor;
1954-1956, Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik, Germany, Fulbright Scholar;
1948-1949, Yale University, School of Music, Teaching Fellow

Educational Background:

Mus.B., Music Composition, Yale University, 1949;
M.A., Music Composition, Columbia University, 1951;
Ph.D., Music Composition, University of Minnesota, 1962;
(diploma), Music Composition, Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik, (Germany), 1954

Professional Organizations:

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP);
American Music Center;
College Music Society;
Phi Beta Kappa

About My Research:

I have been in the field of music since I was about 6 years old; by the time I went to Yale (School of Music) my major field was composition. This has been the main area of specialization throughout my life. I have composed music in just about all genres except opera; specifically: orchestral music (symphonies, piano concerto); chamber music (two string quartets, a piano trio, works for small instrumental ensembles); solo instrumental music (piano sonata, works for violin and piano, cello and piano); and vocal (song cycles, choral music). My most recent works are a Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, a trio for violin, cello and piano, and a chamber orchestra version of my Elegy. There's an extra incentive to write music for which one has reasonable expectations of performance (of high quality) shortly after completion of the work. Thus, I am always open for commissions. As a composer I have, of course, a deep interest in keeping "au courant" with music that is being written in our own time. Because I had taught a Seminar in Contemporary Music for fifteen years at Aspen I have had the opportunity not only to hear the latest music written, but to get to know the composers and to become familiar with their ideas on music. Thus I do have expertise in the area of contemporary music which incorporates a myriad of contemporary music styles. My training in traditional Western music was lengthy and extensive in scope. Thus I also have a great deal of knowledge about music repertoire of the past. This enables me to speak knowledgably about music of past eras, and it is also helpful to me in that I view my own music as a natural outgrowth of Western music. I perform as pianist and also conduct. In sum: I view myself as a musician who excels in the area of composition, but whose interest includes such other aspects of music as performance (piano, conducting) music-theory, music-history, and music criticism.


Donald Keats, An Elegiac Symphony, Boosey & Hawkes, full score, 1973;
Donald Keats, String Quartets #1 & #2, Boosey & Hawkes, full score, 1968;
Donald Keats, Piano Sonata, Boosey & Hawkes, full score, 1971;
Donald Keats, Symphony #1, Galaxy Music, full score, date?;
Donald Keats, "The Hollow Men" (T.S. Eliot), Boosey & Hawkes, full score, date?

Professional Activities:

Two years U.S. Army (1952-1954)

1992-present, Promotion and Tenure Committee of the University of Denver (Arts & Humanities, and Social Sciences). I have been interviewed numerous times on radio (usually "classical music" stations). I have given occasional guest lectures on contempor ary music, my own music, etc.

Expert witness:

Expert on music plagiarism

Judge of composition contests

Judge of performance contests

Guggenheim Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, 1964-65;

Guggenheim Fellowship, Guggenheim Foundation, 1972-73;

Fulbright Scholar, U.S. Government, 1954-55 renewed 1955-56;

Phipps Chair in the Humanities, University of Denver, 1982-85;

Phi Beta Kappa, University of Denver, 1985;

Recording of String Quartet #2, Antioch College/Ford Fd, 1969;

Publication of Elegiac Symphony, Antioch College/Ford Fd, 1973;

Elegiac Symphony perf. Seattle Symphy, Rockefeller Foundation, 1965;

Symphony #1 perf. Kansas City Phil, Rockefeller Foundation, 1966;

Standard Composition Awards, ASCAP, 1964-present


German: fluent reading, intermediate writing, fluent speaking.

French: fluent reading, basic writing, intermediate speaking.


Music Composition, Guggenheim Foundation, Sept, 1972-Sept, 1973, 12, 000 ?;
Music Composition, Guggenheim Foundation, Sept, 1954-Sept, 1955, 8, 000?;
Music Composition, National Endowment for the Arts, Jan 1975-Dec 1975, 2, 500

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Revised or reviewed: April 30, 1997