A French composer born June 13, 1955 in Palmerston North (New Zealand).
A concert violinist, Nigel Keay studied composition at the University of Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. After gaining his degree in 1982 he started a career as composer supported notably by the New Zealand National Council of the Arts.
Settling in France in 1998, he has composed instrumental works and operas, closely collaborating in their performances as viola player or conductor.
Abandoning atonality for music in the post-modern vein, he draws his inspiration in turn from literature (At the Hawk’s Well, one-act opera from a play by William Butler Yeats, 1992), philosophy (Symphony in five movements, 1996, first performed by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra), Javanese music (The Dancer leads the procession for piano, 1999, premiered in Paris, Salle Gaveau, by Jeffrey Grice), and traditional Argentinian music (Tango suite for contralto and string quintet, 2002, commissioned by Radio France). Treating instruments like characters in a play, he has written veritable dialogues within some of his works (Quartet n° 2, 1995; Viola Concerto, 2000; Sonata for oboe and piano, 2011, first performed by Marika Lombardi and Nathalie Dang; Double Jeu for two violas, 2012, first performed by Pierre Henri Xuereb and Julien Dabonneville; Prelude for cello and piano, 2013).