Donald H. Keats, 88, died April 27, 2018, following a period of declining health.
Dr. Keats was an award-winning composer and Professor Emeritus of composition at the University of Denver. He 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 Spring, Ohio between 1957 and 1976. 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. He 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 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. 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 & Hawkes.
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 was predeceased by his wife, the poet Eleanor B. Keats, and by his son Jeremy. He is survived by his loving family, daughter Gigo Pagani (Mike Fox), son Jeffrey Keats (Lynne Keats), daughter Jocy Upton (Todd Upton), and four grandchildren, Allegra, Michael, Alessandra and Julian.
Graveside services were held April 29 at Emanuel Cemetery.
Contributions to Cure Autism Now, Eery Creature Counts, University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music, or the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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