On the Couch with Andrea Keller

Andrea Keller oncWho is Andrea Keller?
I’m an Australian pianist and composer who creates contemporary music with a heavy emphasis on improvisation.

What would you do differently to what you do now?

Who inspires you and why?
Arvo Part inspires me because of his courage and dedication in pursuing the most honest and personal of expression through the music he creates. He does this in spite of everything, and with a genuine modesty and beautifully gentle character.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I strive to create a little bit of beauty in the world around me. It’s my hope that by sharing in musical experiences with people, we will generate a greater degree of compassion and empathy.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland. I’ve only been there once, but the landscape, pace, weather, solitude have been in my mind nearly every day since.

When friends come to town, what attraction do you take them to, and why?
I love going local, our favourite park, Gipi’s Family Italian Restaurant, Coburg Drive-In…

What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading A Movable Feast by Ernest Hemmingway.

What are you currently listening to?
An unreleased recording that Miroslav Bukovsky and I did with an octet of Sydney/Melbourne musicians, called The Komeda Project.

Happiness is?
Being OK with now.

What does the future hold for you?
Caring for my family, writing more music, collaborating with people who inspire me, recording and releasing more albums, touring nationally and internationally, and eventually, more periods of sitting in solitude, reading books and listening to other people’s music.

Since the release of her first album in 2000, pianist and composer Andrea Keller has established herself as an important contributor to Australian jazz and contemporary music. Described as having “one of Australia’s most consistently interesting musical minds” (Doug Spencer 2007), she has released numerous albums as leader, toured nationally and internationally, and received commissions from a wide array of musicians, ensembles and organisations.

Her originality and distinctive style has led to invitations to compose music for the Australian Art Orchestra, Mike Nock’s BigSmallBand, the Bennetts Lane Big Band, Ten Part Invention, Poetica ABC Radio National, Genevieve Lacey, Claire Edwardes, Marshall McGuire, Zephyr Quartet, Seraphim Trio and The Song Company.

Andrea has been the recipient of grants to produce new music, most notably from the Freedman Foundation & Royal Children’s Hospital for A Castle for All (2008), the Keir Foundation & Four Winds Festival for Place (2010), and Meditations on Light (2012). Her extended work for prepared big band Affectations received the 2012 Art Music Award for Jazz Work of the Year.

As a performer, Andrea works in ensembles ranging from big band to solo settings. She is best know for her award winning ensemble the Andrea Keller Quartet and projects featuring her re-workings of the music of Bela Bartok, Wayne Shorter and Krzysztof Komeda. She was a co-founding member of the original Bennetts Lane Big Band and leads Three Lanes with recorder virtuoso Genevieve Lacey and Joe Talia on electronics, and From Ether – music to photographic images taken from the International Space Station.

Among Andrea’s list of achievements are three ARIA Awards, four Bell Awards, an Art Music Award, and fellowships from the MCA/Freedman Foundation and the Australia Council. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Improvisation (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Arts (Research) from Queensland University of Technology.

Andrea will be performing at the upcoming Melbourne International Jazz Festival and the Capital Jazz Project in Canberra. For more information, visit: www.andreakellerpiano.com.au for details.

Image: Andrea Keller