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Music Library

Music Library Special Collections: Nelson Keyes

About the Collection

The Nelson Keyes collection at the University of Louisville includes over 75 of his unpublished manuscript scores and facsimiles, published works, correspondence, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

Access to the collection is available upon request. Please get assistance at the first floor help desk or email us.

About Nelson Keyes

Photo of Keyes
Nelson Keyes

Nelson Hammond Keyes (August 26, 1928- July 20, 1987) was an American composer and professor of music. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Texas in 1948 and 1949, where he studied with Wilbur Ogdun and Kent Kennan. He completed additional studies at the University of California, Los Angeles with Arnold Schoenberg from 1950-1951. After service with the United States Air Force, Keyes earned a doctorate degree from the University of Southern California in 1967, where he studied with Halsey Stevens and Ingolf Dahl.

Keyes taught composition at University of Southern California and at Long Beach City College. Following these assignments, Keyes moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he served as composer-in-residence for the Louisville Public Schools as part of the Young Composers' Project, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, from 1961-1964. Following a teaching position at Kansas State Teacher's College, Keyes returned to Louisville in 1969, where he taught until his death in 1987.

Keyes died tragically on July 20, 1987 of hypothermia while hiking on Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park, Nevada. Keyes' compositions include a number of works for chamber ensembles, band, orchestra, piano, and stage.

How to Use this Collection

To access materials in this collection please contact the Director of the Music Library.