At age six, David Keeffe (b.1956) met Benjamin Britten, and shook his hand. Perhaps it was inevitable that he would eventually become a composer too. David was born into a musical family in London but has called Melbourne home since 1997. He attended Dulwich College, an English Public School founded by Edward Alleyn, one of Shakespeare's leading men, and well-known for its music and drama, and then went to Trinity College of Music where he studied composition with John Tavener and horn with John Burden.
David's continued study at the University of York led to an interest in computers and their musical applications, including composition and notation. David was also for a while the conductor of a university operatic group, and the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir and was principal horn with the York Guildhall Orchestra, where he also performed the Second Horn Concerto by Richard Strauss.
In 1997 David took an opportunity to live and work in Australia with his family. From that point a stream of new works appeared, initially for brass, and especially for horn, and then for the other ensembles. Opportunities from community and educational groups increased his motivation, with workshops and performances from Oakleigh City Band, Maroondah Symphony Orchestra, Grainger Wind Symphony and Melbourne Youth Music's MYO and MYSB, all of whose support is gratefully acknowledged.
In 2006 David re-sat the FTCL examination in Horn Performance and included two of his own works. He passed! Also in 2006 David won the prize for "The Eleventh Day" a new slow march for brass band at the Melbourne International Festival of Brass, and was a finalist for the quick march with "Emerald Hill". That inspired him to return to study and in 2010 completed his Master of Music in composition a the University of Melbourne, working primarily with Julian Yu.
In one of the earliest "Live at the Convent" programs on 3MBS-FM (Melbourne), David's "The Midnight Prince" - a ballet for eight horns was premiered live to air. Subsequently his "Four Haiku" for tenor and piano were broadcast in the same series. Recently, David has had works played by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Defence Force School of Music Band, Grainger Wind Symphony, The Guildhall School of Music Horn Choir and the Bourbaki Ensemble. A highlight has been an informal performance of the horn octet, this time with over 40 players, including Barry Tuckwell, Ben Jacks and Jeff Nelsen. David's most significant recent work is "The Undone Years", a saxophone concerto commissioned by Melbourne saxophonist Jason Xanthoudakis. This received premieres in Melbourne and Sydney.
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