Skip to main content

Horace Keats

1895 – 1945

Horace Keats (1895-1945) came to Australia from his native England in 1915 as accompanist to vaudeville performer Nella Webb. Having been persuaded to remain in the country to accompany Australian singers Ella Caspers and Peter Dawson, between 1917 and 1920 he was orchestral pianist and conductor for several operas directed by Count Filippini, and for three years from 1920 he led a trio in the restaurant of Farmer's department store. Soon after, he became involved in the formation of the ABC. During the 1920s he and his wife, soprano Janet le Brun Brown, began their long broadcasting careers; except for a short break in 1930 when he returned to England to work for the BBC as a conductor, he was associated with the ABC until he died. From 1933, when Keats began composing in earnest, he wrote more than 120 pieces. In 1934 he began setting the work of Australian poets to music. In 1936 he commenced a series of settings of Christopher Brennan's poems, to which he had been granted exclusive rights during his lifetime. These came to be regarded as some of his finest compositions. Amongst his other productions are some film scores.

Updated 2018