2020-2021 International Grant Winner (Master's Category — Performance): Christopher Keach

Christopher Keach
Published: 18 June 2021

Congratulations to Christopher Keach, winner of the 2020-2021 International Grant Writing Competition for master's students — Performance

Trumpeter Christopher Keach received $5,000 towards his graduate studies for his grant proposal, "Trumpet Music by Women Composers: A Detailed Database to Promote Greater Diversity in Trumpet Repertoire."

Curious to learn more about Christopher and his research, we asked some questions over email...

What made you choose Schulich for your studies?

I chose the Schulich School of Music for the wonderful faculty and educational opportunities available to me for my graduate studies.

How has being a Schulich student influenced you and your research?

Being in an environment with such amazing faculty and students has greatly influenced me and my research goals by encouraging me to look deeper and explore more with my music studies.

What led you to this particular topic?

I developed the idea for this topic during my recital planning process. When I plan recitals I work towards creating diverse programs, and in my preparation I came across Amy Dunker’s Database, “Trumpet Music by Women Composers.” This was an excellent resource I used to assist in diversifying my repertoire choices, even though it was a little difficult to navigate.

What are the practical implications of your research?

Through this research, the music will be more accessible: easy to find, easy to purchase, and easy to listen to. This database therefore will propel the process of diversifying the trumpet repertoire.

How does your research add to what was already known?

My research will work towards making this database more accessible for students, teachers, and performers of all ages. Adding a grade-level system, duration of pieces, as well as trumpet equipment needed will allow for trumpet players to find the proper repertoire for themselves or their students while creating a more diversified program.

Why is it important, and who is going to benefit most from your research?

This research on trumpet repertoire composed by women is an important step towards enabling wider accessibility and diversity in music — a goal that continues to be shared by musicians worldwide.

What are your next steps?

My next steps are to continue updating Amy Dunker’s current database then I plan to add new pieces and eventually start to record the pieces for which recordings don’t exist.

What drives you in your research?

My love for trumpet repertoire is what drives my research. There are so many incredible pieces written for the trumpet, but more often than not trumpet players tend to stick to the “standard repertoire,” but I love discovering new pieces and adding them to my ever-growing collection.

What advice would you give to new students in your program?

Continue to learn and grow, be open to new ideas and ways of learning!

What is your earliest musical memory?

My earliest musical memory was of my first trumpet lesson. From that moment on my passion for music never stopped growing.

If you hadn’t ended up in music, what would your alternate career path have been?

If I hadn’t ended up in music, I would have chosen to be a math teacher. I was actually a triple major in Math, Music Education, and Trumpet performance for 2 years before deciding to focus primarily on music.

What was the last album you listened to? 

The last album I listened to was When the World Stopped Moving: The Live EP by Lizzy McAlpine and I would highly recommend it. When I perform on the trumpet I work towards emulating a singer and signing through my instrument and her voice is one I always look toward for inspiration.

Christopher Keach is currently pursuing his MMus degree in trumpet performance at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University in the studio of Professor Richard Stoelzel. He holds a B.M. in Trumpet Performance and B.M.E. from The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where he studied with Dr. John R. Ellis. Throughout the course of his undergraduate studies, he performed with groups including the Northern Symphonic Winds and the Orchestra of Northern New York, where he performed as a featured soloist. Christopher is also an alumnus of the Frackenpohl Honors Brass Quintet, an auditioned ensemble endowed by the family of Dr. Arthur Frackenpohl. Furthermore, he received the Honors in Performance award from the Crane School of Music. Christopher has participated in various masterclasses with artists such as Anthony Plog, Caleb Hudson, Jim Wilt, and Nikki LaBonte, and was a finalist in the first Trumpet Multitrack Competition. He has experience teaching a variety of age groups and settings. Christopher completed his student teaching in the Connetquot Central School District working with Rachel White teaching K-5 General Music and 3rd, 4th, and 5th-grade choir. He also worked with the Bay Shore School District with Katie Malpigli working remotely with the 9-12th grade Jazz Band and Symphonic Band.

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