Obituary of Donald Keats
Donald H. Keats, an award-winning composer and Professor Emeritus of composition at the University of Denver, died on April 27 at the age of 88 following a period of declining health. He spent his final years in the beautiful home he and his wife, Ellie, designed looking out upon the red-rock vistas of his beloved Rockies.
Dr. Keats taught at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music between 1976 and his retirement in 1999, holding the Lawrence C. Phipps Chair in the Humanities for three years. He previously taught at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio between 1957-76. He was also visiting composer at the Aspen Music Festival, where he taught a course in contemporary music under the auspices of the University of Denver.
Dr. Keats was twice a Fulbright Scholar and twice a Guggenheim Fellow, with concerts devoted to his music in London (U.S. Embassy), Tel Aviv (U.S. Embassy), Jerusalem, (Khan Theatre), New York, and at the University of Denver. He was also an accomplished pianist and conductor. His symphonic music (including his Elegiac Symphony, written upon the death in infancy of his first-born son) was widely performed, including by the Denver Symphony, Seattle Symphony, the Kansas City Philharmonic, the Oklahoma City Symphony, the Detroit Symphony, the Dayton Symphony, University of Minnesota Orchestra, and the Antioch College Orchestra, among others. Dr. Keats’s most well-known work, his piano sonata, has also been widely performed; the sonata, and his String Quartet no. 2, were also commercially recorded. His music is published by Boosey and Hawkes.
Dr. Keats was predeceased by his wife, the poet Eleanor B. Keats, and by his son, Jeremy. He is survived by his loving family, daughter Gigi Pagani (Mike Fox), son Jeffrey Keats (Lynne Keats), daughter Jocy Upton (Todd Upton), and four grandchildren, Allegra, Michael, Alessandra, and Julian.
A graveside service will be held on Sunday, April 29, at 1 pm, at Emanuel Cemetery…..