Keane Southard

Creativity, 2024, Grantee Link >

Composer Keane Southard received a grant for Requiem for Animals, a commission from the Brattleboro Music Center. Requiem for Animals is a 45-minute musical work for mixed chorus and string orchestra commemorating the thousands of wildlife species that go extinct and the billions of farmed animals that are killed each year. The requiem will be premiered by the Brattleboro Concert Choir, a resident ensemble of the Brattleboro Music Center, in April/May 2025, after which a recording of the performance will be made available online to stream for free. Keane writes:

The purpose of this project is to help classical and choral music audiences comprehend the immense scope of animal suffering at the hands of humans, rethink our collective impact on animals, and inspire and facilitate action to lessen that suffering. This will be done through using the emotional power of music, with its unique ability to elicit and cultivate empathy in listeners, to show the inextricable connection between animals and humans. When combined with words from the traditional requiem mass as well as texts about animal suffering, this requiem will become a deeply spiritual and artistic experience that empowers audiences to take positive action on behalf of animals and, ultimately, ourselves.

Keane Southard earned his Ph.D. in composition at the Eastman School of Music, his M.M. in composition from the University of Colorado-Boulder, and his B.M. in composition and theory from the Conservatory at Baldwin Wallace University. He has been awarded residencies at the Copland House, Playa, and the Kimmel-Harding-Nelson Center as well as fellowships at the INK STILL WET composer/conductor workshop at the Grafenegg Festival (Austria), the American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Readings, the Intimacy of Creativity (Hong Kong), and the Bennington Chamber Music Conference. In 2016, Waltzing Dervish: The Wind Music of Keane Southard, recorded by the Northeastern State University Wind Ensemble conducted by Norman Wika, was released and hailed as a “major debut disc” and a “portrait of a prolific and optimistic young composer at the very successful beginnings of what this writer (optimistically) hopes will be a long and productive career” (

Keane’s requiem is akin to the work of past grantees such as Emily Doolittle, Michael Harren, Robbie Judkins, and David Anderegg. They all care about and are inspired by their nonhuman fellows to the extent of composing musical pieces that celebrate their lives and mourn their deaths.

Photo of Keane Southard: Gerry Szymanski.

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