Donald H. Keats, 88, an award-winning composer and professor emeritus of composition at DU, passed away April 27, 2018 following a period of declining health. Rabbi Steven Foster officiated at the April 29 graveside service at Emanuel Cemetery. Feldman Mortuary made the arrangements.
Dr. Keats spent his final years in the beautiful home looking out upon the redrock vistas of his beloved Rockies that he and his wife Ellie designed.
An esteemed teacher at DU’s Lamont School of Music from 1976 until his retirement in 1999, he held the Lawrence C. Phipps Chair of the Humanities for three years.
Formerly a teacher at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Idaho from 1957-76, he was a visiting composer at the Aspen Music Festival, where he instructed a course in contemporary music under the auspices of DU.
Dr. Keats, who was twice a Fulbright Scholar and twice a Guggenheim Fellow, gave concerts of his music in London, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, New York and DU.
His symphonic music, including the Elegiac Symphony, written upon the death of his first-born son in infancy, has been widely performed by the Denver Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Kansas City Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony and many others.
Dr. Keats’ piano sonata and String Quartet No. 2 were commercially recorded.
He also was an accomplished pianist and conductor.
Donald Keats is survived by his daughter Gigi (Mike Fox) Pagani, son Jeffrey (Lynne) Keats and daughter Jocy (Todd) Upton; and grandchildren Allegra, Michael, Alessandra and Julian.
He was predeceased by his wife, poet Eleanor B. Keats; and son Jeremy.
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