james keane

Composer, Multi Instrumentalist & Performer

Current Work

Composing for and performing in Theo Clinkard's "This Bright Field", premiered at Brighton Festival and touring Autumn 2017
- "a poetic fusion of sight and sound" - The Guardian

Composing for Charlotte Spencer Projects "Is This A Wasteland?"
for Dance Umbrella

Composing a new commission for Joss Arnott Dance "Rush"
Touring in a new Triple Bill with "V" Four pieces for Solo Viola played live by Fra Rustumji

Recent Work

Composed a Choreographic Cantata for Youth Music Theatre UK with Choreographer Rachel Birch-Lawson Premiered at Sadlers Wells

Composed the soundtrack for The Hum . Conceived and Directed by Nic Sandiland. Ran throughout Brighton Festival

"V" Four pieces for Solo Viola with Choreography by Joss Arnott won "Special Award for Outstanding Choreographic Musical Interpretation and Dance Technicality" at the Warsaw Zawirowania Dance International Choreography Competition

Associate musical director for "Here All Night" words by Samuel Beckett, music by Paul Clark with Gare St Lazare Ireland at Arts Emerson Boston

Dame Evelyn Glennie performing the Recital version of the music for Joss Arnott's "Wide Awakening" in residency at King's Cross Cubitt Sessions , Lichfield Festival, Wimbeldon, Clapham, Dumfries, Bristol, and St Luke's London, also Hobart, Tasmania, Rome and Calgary, Canada with the Land's End Ensemble
- "a virtuoso treatment of standard percussion instruments albeit cast in an impressive array of shifting textures" - Calgary Herald

Composed for Charles Linehan for "A Quarter Plus Green", Brighton Festival

Internationale Tanzmesse Dusseldorf and British Dance Edition in the Wales Millenium Centre, Cardiff with "Of Land And Tongue" by Theo Clinkard Dance

Composed for Flexer & Sandiland for "Disappearing Acts", Touring

Conducted the Manchester Camerata and playing fuzz bass for Clod Ensemble's "An Anatomie in Four Quarters" in The Lowry, Manchester

Composed music and soundscore for "somewhat still when seen from above" Choreography by Theo Clinkard with Leah Marojevic for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, one of the commissions for "Neue Stuck", premiered at Opernhaus Wuppertal, Germany

Performed in "Political Mother, The Choreographer's Cut" with Hofesh Shechter Company at O2 Brixton Academy, London, La Grande Hall De La Vilette, Paris, also Berlin, Monpelier and Hong Long

Toured internationally for six years with Hofesh Shechter's "Political Mother"


This Bright Field Theo Clinkard Dance

Reflections in Swan Lake Youth Music Theatre UK

Of Land And Tongue, Theo Clinkard Dance

Trailer for Joss Arnott Dance 5|0

Trailer for SALT with Vanessa Maguire

"no marks on the map" Choroegraphy by Lizzi Kew-Ross at Bonnie Bird Theatre, London

Trailer for Joss Arnott Dance - V - composed by James Keane, solo Viola Bruce White


Flocking Canons 5 from "somewhat still when seen from above" Choreography by Theo Clinkard with Leah Marojevic for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

"Cloud" from "somewhat still when seen from above"

Pole Dance from "Is This A Wasteland?" by Charlotte Spencer Projects

Kreuzberg from "Is This A Wasteland?"

Scaff-Pipe-Metal-Cello from "Is This A Wasteland?", Cello by Tom Spencer

Glitchy Folk for "Disappearing Acts" by Flexer & Sandiland

Final Dance for "Disappearing Acts"

Opening (extract) from "not marked on the map" Choreography by Lizzi Kew-Ross

Middle (extract) from "not marked on the map"

Coda from "not marked on the map"

Opening (demo) from music for "Wide Awakening" Choreography by Joss Arnott Dance written for Dame Evelyn Glennie

Marimba Intro (demo) from music for "Wide Awakening"

1 from "Four Pieces for Solo Viola" for a solo "V" by Joss Arnott Dance

4 from "Four Pieces for Solo Viola"

Tight wire, "Broken Maggie" from Hop(e), National Centre for Circus Arts, Degree and Postgraduate Ensemble show Directed by Struan Leslie

Juggling, from Hop(e)

Arial, Aria variation from Hop(e)

Miniature Dance from "Of Land And Tongue" Theo Clinkard Dance

Balter from "Of Land And Tongue"

Skeleton from "Chalk"

Canon, Introduction from 21: Piece for 21 strings. Conducted by Nick Pendlebury choreography by Lizzi Kew-Ross

21 - Stretto

21 - End Canon Splinter

Lost Dog 1 - Music written by James Keane. Place Prize winners 2012. work for "Home For Broken Turns". Almeida.co.uk event link

Lost Dog 2

Joss Arnott Dance - Solo, "Origin"

Joss Arnott Dance - Threshold Intro to the End

Joss Arnott Dance - Threshold Ending


Trained at Trinity College of Music. He has composed for theatre, dance, TV, animation and the concert hall and has conducted music for opera, concerts, TV, films, and CDs.

As a performer he has worked with Deborah Warner (LIFT), Tom Morris (NT, BAC), Struan Leslie (NT, WNO), Melly Still (Lyric Hammersmith), Johnathan Stone (Purcell Room and touring), Julian Crouch, Lizzi Kew-Ross (Laban), Simon Fisher Turner and as a conductor/orchestrator/instrumentalist with The Clod Ensemble, The Cholmondeleys and Featherstonehaughs, Welsh National Opera, Ballet Rambert, Hofesh Shechter and composers Murray Gold (BBC, C4), John Browne (ROH), Paul Clark (NT) and bands The Jazz Cigarettes (live karaoke), The Blue Dogs and Heist (supporting The Fall).

He has directed workshops for WNO, English Sinfonia, British Film Institute, Kube, Clore Foundation, Creative Partnerships and Clod; has taught at Trinity College of Music, Central School Of Speech And Drama, Universities of Chichester and Portsmouth and for seven years was an associate lecturer in Theatre Improvisation at University College Winchester.

James was a founder member of the London Guitar Trio (1995-8) premiering over 20 new works. He plays piano, percussion and iPad for contemporary classes and ballet at Laban and has also played for LCDS, University of Surrey, University College Chichester, Adventures in Motion Pictures, Dancelines (ROH), Lost Dog, DV8 and Ballet Rambert.

Most recently he has been conducting a choir at Tate Modern Turbine Hall in Clod Ensemble's Silver Swan, also conducting a string orchestra and playing fuzz bass in Clod's An Anatomie in Four Quarters at Sadlers Wells, Wales Millennium Centre and The Lowry; conducting Opera North Chorus in RnD for a new opera by Melanie Wilson; touring internationally with Hofesh Shechter Company as Guitarist and Drummer; performing in Without Warning company; composing for Lost Dog (Place Prize winners 2012), Theo Clinkard, Struan Leslie for The Circus Space and Joss Arnott Dance Company - including a version of Threshold for 3 live drum kits. In 2011 his piece 21Strings was performed at the Bonnie Bird Theatre, conducted by Nick Pendlebury, with choreography by Lizzi Kew-Ross. He was associate musical director for the world premiere of Here All Night, words by Samuel Beckett, music by Paul Clark at the Brighton Festival 2013 and was musician in residence for the 2014 Festival Parade.

He has just performed in Hofesh Shecter's Political Mother the Choreographer's Cut at Brixton Academy, Paris and Hong Kong and internationally in Theo Clinkard's Chalk and Of Land and Tongue for which he also wrote the score.

Recent compositions include a piece for Lizzi Kew-Ross for string quartet and dancers inspired by the work of Edmund De Waal and Paul Celan, a recreation of two Rudolf Laban pieces with choreographer Alison Curtis-Jones, a piece for SHIFT at the London Contemporary Dance School with Theo Clinkard, music for Charles Linehan's "A Quarter Plus Green", music for Disappearing Acts by Flexer & Sandiland a new piece for Joss Arnott Dance played live by Dame Evelyn Glennie which she is now performing as a recital piece and has just premiered a new commission from Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch with choreographer Theo Clinkard.


James has been described as "the Keith Moon of Dance Accompaniment", "a talentless hack", "undulating", "still too loud" and "summoning thoughts of wind blown picnics". He has worked with celery, water bottles, radiators, plastic bags and tables. He has been a rabbit, spaghetti, a prisoner and an angel. He's written, composed, devised, directed, improvised and guessed. He's played other people's music in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, an Operating Theatre and Sydney Opera House. Other people have played his music in Wuppertal, Blackpool and Tasmania.
He likes Zebras, Zeppelin, Yearnings, Yes's, Xenakis, Waltzes, Varese, Vinho Verde, Venice, Urtext, Television (the band), Taste, Sherman (Cindy, not the tank), Stravinsky, Schnittke, Sun Ra, Sly, Schwitters, Scelsi, Rabelais, Reefs, Retrograde, Quivers, Psilocybin, Priorat, Pamuk, Perotin, Perec, Palindromes, Picnics, Ornithology, Onomatopoeia, Other things, Nancarrow, Markson, Mingus, Murmuration, Mistakes, Ligeti, Lists, Love, Knausgaard, King Lear, Joyce, Joni, John, Ives, impulses, hello's, Hendrix, hysteria, Gonzo, Generosity, Franzen, Feldman, Ephemerality, Etymology, exaggeration, Doig, Dolphy, Dennehy (Donnacha), Dancing, Celan, Carter, Cliché, Cage, Chomsky, collective nouns, Balsamic, Bach, Bartok, Beckett, Beefheart, Beyoncé, Beethoven (but only the late stuff, not the very dull early stuff or the symphonies bla, bla, bla), Asymmetry, Ayres, Alps, amuse-bouches, alphabets.


Piece for Twenty One Strings and Dancers String Quartet No.1 Guitar Studies

Etude One
Etude Two
Etude Three
Etude Four

Four Pieces for Solo Viola

Other Links

Clod Ensemble
Joss Arnott Dance
Lost Dog Dance
Theo Clinkard
The Jazz Cigarettes
Rudolf Laban's Jukebox
The Blue Dogs



Curriculum Vitae