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Paul Keenan (composer)

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Name  Paul Keenan

Role  Composer

Paul Keenan (1 August 1956 – 26 June 2001) was a British 20th Century contemporary classical composer. His body of composition spans 27 years, though consistently explores his fascination with both Anglo-Saxon texts (from The Exeter Book) and the natural world.



Keenan was born in Birmingham where he attended St Philip's Grammar School. He went on to study composition with Anthony Gilbert at the Royal Northern College of Music. In 1999 he was awarded a PhD in Composition from the University of Edinburgh, supervised by Nigel Osborne and Peter Nelson. Keenan also studied privately with Bill Hopkins.

Notable works

  • Concerto for Groups of Instruments (1974–76)
  • The Ruin (part one) (1976–79)
  • Palimpsest (1992–95)
  • Squaring xlvii (1996–97)
  • Comet Hale-Bopp (1997–98)
  • A Field of Scarecrows (trombone and piano) (1998)
  • I quattro libri dell'architettura (for string quartet and tape electronics) (1999–2000)
  • Awards

    Keenan's Concerto for Groups of Instruments won the 1977 Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize. Music of Wood and Strings was awarded the 1978 Worshipful Company of Musicians Silver Medal.

    Cloudscapes, Palimpsest and Comet Hale-Bopp were all shortlisted by the Society for the Promotion of New Music (now Sound and Music).

    Further information

    Since his death in 2001, Keenan's work has received numerous broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 Hear and Now, featuring performances by orchestras and ensembles such as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and ECAT. In 1998, a television documentary about Keenan was created by Peter Chapman for broadcast on ITV Border Television.

    A select group of academics, composers and performers believe Keenan's music to be a unique and significant contribution to music of the late 20th Century. His pioneering approach to electro-acoustic composition and research into sound phenomenon earned him the description as "the man who split music's atom".


    Paul Keenan (composer) Wikipedia

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