Sunday, September 8, 2019

Homer Keller

Homer Keller graduated from the Eastman School of Music, having studied with Howard Hanson and obtaining a B.M. degree in 1927 and his M.M. degree in (1938). As a Fulbright scholar in Paris, he studied with Arthur Honegger at the Ecole Normal de Musique.

Keller's First Symphony, a prize-winning work of the Henry Hadley Foundation in 1939, was premiered in Carnegie Hall by the New York Philharmonic under John Barbirolli in 1940.
He taught composition and counterpoint at the University of Michigan where his notable students included Leslie BassettGeorge Balch Wilson, and Donald Harris.

While at the University of Michigan he also served on the Interlochen Music Camp staff where he helped and influenced many aspiring young musicians including notable Dwight Beckham in 1950.

For three years, he resided in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he first taught at the Palama Settlement and the Punahou Music School, later becoming a lecturer in music at the University of Hawaii. He was President of the Honolulu Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters.
His work in Hawaii exposed him to Pacific Island folk music, which he credited with widening his own musical thought with regard to melody and harmony.

In December 1956, the Honolulu Symphony, with George Barati conducting, gave the premiere performance of Keller's Third Symphony.  Austin Faricy, the music critic for the Honolulu Star Bulletin, reported, "Written richly and idiomatically for orchestra, Keller's symphony alternated between nervous energy and large repose, with a wealth of allusion to contemporary rhythm and themes, and some reference to folk material...Mr. Keller received an ovation at the end."

Keller later taught at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon from 1958 to 1976.  His notable students at the UO School of Music and Dance include Ralph TownerStephen ScottRaymond BarkerDavid W. MavesRicky L. CallierRobert Scott ThompsonLawrence CrawfordBurt Levy, and Jim Cockey. He also, at the University of Oregon, worked with Jon Appleton to set up that university's electronic music studio.

His music has been conducted by William Strickland and is published by the American Composers Alliance.

Above text based on quoted material edited from Wikipedia and American Composers Alliance. Photo: Music of the West Magazine. 

Submitted profile by Oregon ComposersWatch.

Works: Partial List
Sonatina No.1 for Piano (1935)
Symphony No.1 in A Minor (1938)
Chamber Symphony (1941)
Sonata for Bassoon and Piano (1941)
Six Preludes for Piano (1947)
Sonatina No.2 for Piano (1947)
Symphony No.2 (1948)
Magnificat for Chorus and Orchestra (1948)
Fantasy and Fugue for Organ (1949)
Sonata for Viola and Piano (1951)
Sonata for Organ (1952)
Sonata for Flute and Piano (1953)
Offertory for Organ (1955)
Symphony No.3 (1956)
String Quartet (1958)
Duo for Violin and Harpsichord (1960)
3 Constructs for Piano (1966)
Declaration for Violin, Cello and Piano (1966)
Interplay for Chamber Orchestra (1970)
Sonorities for Orchestra (1970)
For Behold, I Create New Heavens and New Earth for Chorus and Organ (1971)
Sonata for Piano (1972)
Sonata for Cello and Piano (1977)
Quiet Music for a Tree for Piano (1979)