Picture of Brian Keenan

Brian Keenan

Brian Keenan is one of a group of composer/pianists who are exploring syncopated piano repertory of North and South America and taking it in exciting new directions.

The New World Piano styles, and their chief composers, that Keenan demonstrates in performance include: Classic Ragtime (Scott Joplin, James Scott, Joseph Lamb, Arthur Marshall); the Midwestern sounds of Folk Ragtime (Charles Hunter, Brun Campbell, Trebor Tichenor); today's New Ragtime (Jack Rummel, Fred Hoeptner), and Terra Verde, a revolutionary new music which incorporates New Ragtime with European romantic music and diverse American and Latin-American piano traditions.

Keenan's own compositions make use of these idioms and, together with the inspiration from his Minnesota river country heritage, make him a significant figure in this movement of new Romantic piano literature.

BRIAN KEENAN was born into a very musical family December 31, 1971, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He began taking piano lessons at age ten and started playing classic ragtime shortly thereafter. He began composing at 12, and in 1988 his Denn Also Hat Gott Die Welt Geliebt for chorus and piano won first place in the West Central division in the high school classification of the Music Teachers National Association/Columbia Pictures Publications Student Composition Contest.

Keenan was introduced to the world of New Ragtime when he met Frank French, David Thomas Roberts, and Jack Rummel in 1991. In 1994 he graduated with honors from the University of Colorado-Boulder, where he studied composition, piano and harpsichord, and was a member of the school's Early Music and Electronic Music ensembles. He was also the first recipient of the University's Certificate in Music Technology. In 1994 he was assistant musical director for the university's production of The Mistress of Two Masters, a musical play by Paul Levitt about Anna Giro, mistress of Antonio Vivaldi.

Keenan has been a featured performer at the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in Sedalia, Missouri, the Rocky Mountain Ragtime Festival in Boulder, and for the Classic Ragtime Society in Indianapolis. In addition to 40 ragtime-based piano solos, Keenan's works include a Piano Concertino, Magnificat for chorus and organ, and Three Songs on Ancient Chinese Texts for soprano and chamber ensemble.



North Star
Waiting for the Zenith
Over the Lake Street Bridge
The Milwaukee Road
Mississippi River Blvd.
Last Stop Before Anchorage



Colorado Panorama
Harriet Island
Aura of Indigo
Crosby Farm
Hidden Falls
When the Work is Done, I'll Dance
Lake Country Ballad

*Both of these recordings may be ordered from John Roache's Ragtime Store.

Critic's Acolades....

"Brian Keenan is a voice to be reckoned with and will surely make himself heard as we cross over into a new century of ragtime."

- The Rag Times, Jack Rummel, November 1996


"Such composers as.. Brian Keenan have not only contributed significant pieces to American piano literature but have established a new cultural context for this music."

- David Thomas Roberts, American Landscapes (Pinelands, 1996)


"Brian Keenan is certainly ragtime's newest star -what a talent."

- Yvonne McDonald, Jack Frost Ragtime Society


"Keenan plays flawlessly throughout this recording... you'll want to have this CD."

- Sacramento Ragtime Society, Tom McDermott, June 1996


"Brian Keenan's playing is wonderfully clean and precise....his style is strong and workmanlike, yet relaxed....overall, a pleasant, satisfying album."

- Bruce Bartlett, technical writer, Audio Division Crown International

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