top of page


David Keep is a prize-winning pianist, theorist, and pedagogue.


Keep has performed as recitalist, concerto soloist, Lied partner, and chamber musician through the United States and Europe. Recent recital venues include the Christian-Albrechts-Universität (Kiel, Germany), Bowling Green University (OH), Grove Music Festival (MI), Loyola University (IL), Lawrence University (WI), and Free at Three Recital Series (MI). His collaboration with artist Greg Lookerse (Hope College) produced an interdisciplinary exploration of George Crumb’s “Little Suite for Christmas”, funded by a grant from the Calvin Institute for Christian Worship. The resulting multimedia performance was presented to church congregations across West Michigan in 2022, designed to inspire conversations about faith, discomfort, and music in Advent. He has won prizes in the Wisconsin MTNA Young Artists Competition, the Miroslav Pansky Concerto Competition, the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra Piano Concerto Competition, and Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Young Artists’ Competition. Performance highlights include the complete Chopin op. 10 Études, a concerto debut with the Green Bay Civic Symphony Orchestra, a lecture recital focusing on musical narrative and Russian fairy tales in Prokofiev’s music, and the complete sonatas for solo instrument and piano by Brahms. Current projects include a performance cycle of the complete solo piano works of Brahms. Keep studied piano with Derison Duarte, Anthony Padilla, Luba Edlina-Dubinsky, and Vincent Lenti. 


As a theorist, Keep has devoted much of his research toward understanding how meaning is perceived in music. Keep’s interests are centered on the music of Brahms, music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the connections between analysis and performance. He has presented his research at the annual meetings of the Society for Music Theory, the Music Theory Society of New York State, the Texas Society for Music Theory, the American Brahms Society, the Michigan Music Teachers Association, the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music, and at the Stravinsky in America Festival. Invited lectures have been given at Cornell University’s conference “Performing Clara Schumann: Keyboard Legacies and Feminine Identities in the Long Romantic Tradition” and the Forschungszentrum der Johannes Brahms Gesamtausgabe, Musikwissenschaftlichen Institut of the Christian-Albrechts-Universität, in Kiel, Germany. Publications include articles, invited book chapters, and reviews, appearing in Intégral: The Journal of Applied Musical Thought, Liszt and Virtuosity (ed. Robert Doran, University of Rochester Press, co-winner of the Alan Walker Triennial Book Award given by the American Liszt Society), Music Theory Online, and the Journal of the American Liszt Society. Keep was named a Towsley Research Scholar by Hope College in 2022, and has been the recipient of Hope’s Nyenhuis Faculty Development grants. He was recognized as a finalist for the Karl Geiringer Dissertation Fellowship by the American Brahms Society, received the Raymond N. Ball Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Rochester, and was awarded the Colvin Award for the Best Student Paper by the Texas Society for Music Theory. His dissertation, “Brahms’s Re-Creativity in opp. 80-90” (Eastman School of Music, 2020) was advised by Jonathan Dunsby. Current research projects include studies on disability and virtuosity in Brahms’s music, harmonic sequences as signifiers of the sublime, and the relationship between dance gestures and un-notated performance conventions in waltzes composed for the piano, particularly as captured by early recorded piano performances in the era leading up to 1914.


As a pedagogue, Keep has taught both applied piano lessons and academic courses in a variety of contexts, focused on topics such as class piano, aural skills, music theory, music history, and upper-level research seminars. He has taught at the Lawrence Academy of Music, the Young Pianists Program at Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music, Gustavus Adolphus College, the University of Minnesota, and Hope College. He is an active member of the Michigan Music Teachers Association, serving as State Membership Chair. Keep has been invited to give masterclasses across the Midwest and has adjudicated local, state, and regional competitions. In 2019, he was awarded the Teaching Assistant Prize for Excellence in Classroom Instruction from the Eastman School of Music. Currently he teaches piano and academic courses to majors and nonmajors at Hope College, emphasizing both the rigorous pursuit of specialization in music as well as the exploration of the art form’s significance within a liberal arts curriculum. He has advised undergraduate research projects that have focused on the intersections of piano performance and music theory, funded by Hope’s Nyenhuis Faculty-Student Collaborative Grants. 


David Keep holds a Ph.D. in music theory from the Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester. Keep earned a MM in piano performance with a minor in music theory from the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University; he also holds a BM in piano performance from Lawrence University. He is an Assistant Professor of Music at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, where he also serves as the Music Department’s Keyboard Area Head.

bottom of page