James F. Keene, guest conductor
James F. Keene retired from the University of Illinois in 2008, where he held the titles of Director of Bands and Brownfield Distinguished Professor of Music. Appointed in 1985, he was only the fourth to hold the Director of Bands position since 1905. During his 23-year tenure at Illinois, the Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony, under his direction, were selected to perform for every major music conference in the U.S., toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, and performed in several of America's most prestigious concert halls including several appearances at historic Orchestra Hall in Chicago, as well as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York.
His ensembles have produced an extensive recording series on several labels. These recordings have been broadcast on National Public Radio in the U. S., as well as such diverse places as the United Kingdom, Tokyo, Warsaw, Tel Aviv and recently on Vatican Radio.
Prof. Keene is Past-President of The American Bandmasters Association and a Past-President of The National Band Association. Additionally, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the historic Goldman Memorial Band of New York City as well as a frequent guest conductor. For several years he was chairman of the ABA/Ostwald Composition Contest and was a member of the Editorial Board of The Journal of Band Research. Currently, he serves as Trustee of the Foundation for Music Education and serves on the Board of Directors of the John Philip Sousa Foundation.
In addition to membership in several professional and honorary societies, Prof. Keene is an Evans Scholar, Past-President of the Champaign Rotary Club, and a Paul Harris Fellow of the Rotary International Foundation. In 1993, he was named honorary member of the Board of Directors of the International Percy Grainger Society and was presented with the coveted Grainger Medaillion in recognition of his noted performances of Grainger's music on four continents. In 2002, he was named Honorary Life Member of The Texas Bandmasters Association, only the fifth person so honored in their 65 year history. In 2009, he was installed into the Bands of America Hall of Fame in Indianapolis, Indiana. In December, 2013, Professor Keene was honored at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago as International Outstanding Bandmaster of the Year by Phi Beta Mu, honorary bandmasters fraternity .
Professor Keene earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from The University of Michigan, where his major professors included Dr. William D. Revelli, Elizabeth Green and Larry Teal. Previous to his appointment at The University of Illinois, Professor Keene taught at all levels, including building nationally recgnized programs at East Texas State University (now Texas A and M- Commerce) and at The University of Arizona. He continues to be in constant demand as conductor, clinician,and adjudicator of bands and orchestras, appearing in those capacities in forty-four states and on four continents. In 2014-15, Professor Keene is scheduled to conduct in Australia, China and Europe in addition to a busy schedule of appearances throughout the U.S