james keane


Trained at Trinity College of Music. A composer, conductor, orchestrator, director, deviser, multi-instrumentalist, performer, producer and improviser. He has composed for Dance, Theatre, Film, TV, Animation and the concert hall.

He has worked with skins, strings, bottles, bodies, bags, reeds, radiators, tables, tubes, chalk, celery, theatres, laptops, living rooms, bones, trombones, algorithms, impulses, voices, orchestras and other instruments. He has been on fire, screamed at, swung, held, dead, released, a prisoner, a rabbit, and an angel. He's written, taught, devised, directed, danced, improvised and guessed.

He's performed in over 40 countires, in venues from Brooklyn Academy of Music to an Operating Theatre to Theatre De Ville and from The Royal Opera House to Sydney Opera House. He's written for over 60 productions and his music has been performed internationally - from Wuppertal to Blackpool to Tasmania.

Some words...

" an extraordinary composer"

Dame Evelyn Glennie

" a poetic fusion of sight and sound"

This Bright Field - Theo Clinkard Dance The Guardian

"sometimes calm, sometimes thunderous...Keane playing live percussion as the dancers return...This time the dance is one of unfettered celebration"

This Bright Field The Observer

" enhanced by James Keane's clever original music"

Le Monocle - Rendez Vous Dance Pink Prince Theatre

" glorious soundtrack"

Le Monocle narc magazine

"The music is...sometimes raw and dissonant, evoking the transgressive and difficult nature of the times and the danger of being sexually different"

Le Monocle British Theatre Guide

"overpowering...a beautiful piece"

"a virtuoso treatment of standard percussion instruments...cast in an impressive array of shifting textures"

Piece for Dance Calgary Herald

"the complex rhythms drive the pace of the piece. The dancers' bodies respond to the beat, each movement remarkably in sync...The outbreaks of applause throughout Wide Awakening say it all"

Wide Awakening - Joss Arnott Dance The Stage

"It's both poetry in motion and contrasting emotions in motion, set to a soundtrack of uke, guitar, breakbeat and an increasing babble of voices...and contemporary shape-shifting shimmies to James Keane's thunderous soundtrack. It makes it impossible not to move in your seat"

Of Land And Tongue - Theo Clinkard Dance Across The Arts

Trailers & Video

The Monocle Trailer from Rendez-Vous dance

SURGE (Live Music) - Joss Arnott from Emergence

PHENOMENON 99 from sarah cameron

The Days Maria Nurmela & Ville Oinonen, Conceived and directed by Theo Clinkard - Music

Becoming Everything - Official Trailer Top Shorts Winner '21. Narrative Score. Directed by Dan Lowenstein

This Bright Field Theo Clinkard Dance - Music

Reflections in Swan Lake Youth Music Theatre UK

WILD SHADOWS (2022) - Joss Arnott from Emergence

Wild Shadows - Joss Arnott from Emergence

Of Land And Tongue, Theo Clinkard Dance - Music

Trailer for Joss Arnott Dance 5|0 - Music

Trailer for SALT with Vanessa Maguire

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

Theo Clinkard 124 x 2" from his first 5 years of work, access it here , music - Miniture Dance from "Of Land and Tongue"

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

Some sounds

You can find a more in depth survey of my work, excerpts, songs, demos etc etc on my soundcloud page

A Collage of some work from 2012-2016

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

Together for Unassailable us, choreography - Rachel Birch-Lawson 2018

Exerpt from Rush for Joss Arnott Dance 2017

Song from Le Monocle - The O Tango - sung by Imogen Banks

Pole Dance 4 for "Is This A Wasteland" by Charlotte Spencer Projects 2017, there are 3 others, in 3 different genres, and they all go wrong...


Score and Backing Track for Piece For Dance , originally written for
Dame Evelyn Glennie, is available on request - Email

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


James Keane - Trained at Trinity College of Music. A composer, conductor, orchestrator, director, deviser, multi-instrumentalist, performer, producer and improviser. He has composed for Dance, Theatre, Film, TV, Animation and the concert hall.

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 (BAC), Lizzi Kew-Ross (Laban), Simon Fisher Turner (The Roundhouse), Arnaud Deplechin, (in the film "Esther Khan"), Britten Pears Orchestra,The Clod Ensemble, Ballet Rambert.
He toured internationally for ten years with Hofesh Shechter's "Pollitical Mother" as Guitarist and Drummer, also performing in "In your rooms - The Choreographer's Cut", "Survivor" with Antony Gormley (Barbican), and in "Political Mother: The Choreographer's Cut" in Brixton Academy, Sadlers Wells, Paris, Berlin, Montpellier, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
James was a founder member of the London Guitar Trio, premiering over 20 new works, he has also played in numerous bands including The Jazz Cigarettes (live karaoke), The Emmits, The Blue Dogs and Heist (supporting The Fall).

Orchestrations include work for Murray Gold (BBC, C4 & films), John Browne (ROH), Paul Clark (Katie Mitchell), Steve Blake (Cholmondeleys & Featherstonehaughs), WNO Chorus and Akram Khan's "Creature" (ENB) for composer Vincenzo Lamagna.

He has taught at Trinity Laban, Central School Of Speech And Drama, Universities of Chichester, Salford and Portsmouth and for seven years was an Associate Lecturer in Theatre Improvisation at University College Winchester. He has played for contemporary classes and ballet at Trinity Laban (16 years), Royal Ballet School, Ballet Rambert, University of Surrey, University College Chichester and for Adventures in Motion Pictures, Lost Dog and DV8. He was also musician in residence for the 2014 Brighton Festival Parade.

He conducted a choir at Tate Modern Turbine Hall & Royal Opera House in Clod Ensemble's "Silver Swan", a string orchestra (and played fuzz bass) in Clod's "An Anatomie in Four Quarters" at Sadlers Wells, Wales Millennium Centre and Manchester Camerata at The Lowry; conducted Opera North Chorus in RnD for a new opera by Melanie Wilson; “News Night - the Opera” 10 commissioned composers, directed by Tom Morris; Associate musical director for the world premiere of "Here All Night", words by Samuel Beckett, music by Paul Clark at the Brighton Festival '13 and Arts Emerson, Boston '16.
He has also orchestrated and conducted numerous sessions for TV, Film and records.

He has composed for Charles Linehan, Lost Dog, Charlotte Spencer Projects, Youth Music Theatre UK, Scottish Dance Theatre, Rachel Birch-Lawson, Lizzi Kew Ross, Struan Leslie for The Circus Space, Flexer & Sandiland, Sophia Nappi, Ali Curtis Jones with Summit Theatre, Candoo2, SHIFT, The Natashas Project, Noa Genazzano, Marina Collard and Joss Arnott Dance - including a piece with Dame Evelyn Glennie which she is now performing in recitals.

Recently he composed the score for the award wining short film "Becoming Everything" directed by Dan Löwenstein.

He also works regularly with Theo Clinkard, writing and performing in company works - Chalk, Of Land And Tongue and This Bright Field (Brighton Festival Commission) and for his new Sadler's Wells Commission The Village (with The London Bulgarian Choir) and "somewhat still when seen from above" for Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch.


James has been described as "poetic", "purposefully chaotic", "pleasingly unobtrusive", "the Keith Moon of Dance Accompaniment", "clever", "a talentless hack", "interesting", "breakneck", "glorious", "terrific", "pounding" "undulating", "thunderous", "dappled", "still too loud", "simplicity belying complexity" and "summoning thoughts of wind blown picnics".

He likes Zebras, Zeppelin, Yearnings, Yes's, Xenakis, Waltzes, Wolfgang, Varese, Vinho Verde, Venice, Urtext, Taste, Television (the band), Tokarczuk, Sherman (Cindy, not the tank), Stravinsky, Schnittke, Sun Ra, Sly, Schwitters, Scelsi, Rabelais, Reefs, Retrograde, Quivers, Psilocybin, Priorat, Pamuk, Perotin, Perec, Palindromes, Picnics, Ornithology, Oswald (Alice), Onomatopoeia, Other things, Nancarrow, Markson, Mingus, Murmuration, Mistakes, Ligeti, Lists, Love, King Lear, kindness, Joyce, Joni, Johnstone (K), Ives, impulses, hello's, Hendrix, hysteria, hugs, Gonzo, Generosity, Family, Franzen, Feldman, Funk, Ephemerality, Etymology, exaggeration, Doig, Dolphy, Dennehy (Donnacha), Dancing, Celan, Carter, Cliche, Cage, Chomsky, collective nouns, Balsamic, Bach, Bartok, Beckett, Beefheart, Beyonce, Beethoven, Asymmetry, Ayres, Alps,

Other Links

Rudolf Laban's Jukebox
The Blue Dogs