Brennan Keats OAM

Brennan Keats OAM was born in Mosman, NSW, the son of the composer, Horace Keats and the broadcaster and recitalist, Barbara Russell.  He studied organ with Faunce Alman at St James Church, Sydney and piano with Gordon Watson at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and graduated from Macquarie University in 1985.  For many years he was an organist and later accompanied singers as a pianist in an amateur capacity.

Brennan is author of A Poet’s Composer, the biography of Horace Keats, 1895 – 1945, and his association with some of his contemporary artists such as Peter Dawson, Barbara Russell and the poets, Kenneth Mackenzie, Hugh McCrae, Christopher Brennan and many others;  Quiet Waters, a history of HMAS Canberra (1) and his brother Russell, a flautist and organist, who died in her, and Ship's Company, a concise history of the R.N. in WWI and many untold stories.  Recently his latest book, A Woman Who Stands Alone was published, so completing a trilogy of those members of his family who enabled Brennan together with his wife Anne to launch the bold enterprise known as Wirripang. In 2018 he compiled the story of Wirripang from the beginning.

Brennan's interest in composing developed many years ago and since then he has arranged a number of his father's works, whose composition he greatly admires, but has taken greater interest in instrumental and choral writing and has had a number of works published.  During 2014 he was commissioned to write a work for two bass flutes and cello by the well known low flutes player and advocate Peter Sheridan.  This work, 'Fantasies and Wildness' was recorded by Move and released during 2016.  Brennan also wrote a work for flute quartet, The Bloodying of Innocence, designed to be performed during commemoration ceremonies pertaining to war and this was premiered at concert at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music during Remembrance Day 2015.

 In 1987 he and his wife commenced Publications by Wirripang, later to become Wirripang Pty Ltd, specialising in the publishing of books and fine Australian music and especially, establishing a means of preserving the music of these Australian composers so their music will not be lost to future generations.

Sadly, Brennan passed away on 1st February 2023.

Australian War Memorial talk on the book Quiet Waters an account of HMAS Canberra WWII.  Including the Sydney Male Choir. August 2011

Australian War Memorial talk on the book Quiet Waters an account of HMAS Canberra WWII.  Including the Sydney Male Choir. 18th August 2012

Talk and concert given at the National Portrait Gallery Canberra 18th August, 2012 (Sydney Male Choir and, Wendy Dixon (soprano) and David Miller (pianist).

Concert held at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra 15th August 2015 (Louise Page (soprano), Janet Webb (flute), Phillipa Candy (piano), The Linden String Quartet (Marina Marsden and Emily Long (violins); Justine Marsden (viola); Elizabeth Neville (cello)).

Horizons CD and DVD with Jeanell Carrigan (piano) Jane Ede (soprano); Thomas Dalton (tenor); Malcolm Ede (baritone); Marina Marsden (violin).

Sea and Landscapes CD with the Linden Quartet.

See all works by Brennan in our shop