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Living Composer: Nigel Keay

Updated: May 9, 2023

Our Living Composer of the month is New Zealander Nigel Keay, who has been based in France since 1998.

Composer Nigel Keay

Nigel is a freelance composer and violist (and sometimes conductor). He writes primarily for orchestral instruments, from small ensembles to larger orchestral groups, and also composes for voice. Throughout his career he has often played in or directed his own works, and he has held several composer-in-residence positions.

Composer Nigel Keay, performing on viola, together with piano and clarinet.

His music has been broadcast on Radio France, and increasingly performed in Europe and beyond. Two complete album recordings have been made of his music: Music for Small Groups and the dancer leads the procession (Blumlein Records). His Oboe Sonata and Moderato à cent d'huîtres have been featured on the albums Créations (Continuo Records) and La Cuisine à l'alto (Polymnie) respectively, and he has several future recording projects in progress.

For more information about Nigel and his music, visit his website:


Nigel's compositions:

  • Fanfare for Orchestra

  • String Quartet No. 2

  • Trio for Clarinet, Viola & Piano "Adagietto Antique"


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Nigel's top 5 classical music picks:

  • Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131

  • Berg: Lulu

  • Ravel: String Quartet in F major

  • Stravinsky: Firebird Suite

  • Tippett: Symphony No. 2


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