Keith Humble

In 1977, Keith Humble won the National Critics Award as the most outstanding recitalist working in Australia and he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to music in 1982. He was a constant champion of Australian contemporary music and Percy Grainger.

Keith Humble was born in Geelong, Victoria, in 1927. He started to learn the piano at the age of five, and while in high school began to perform with jazz groups. In 1946 he enrolled at the Melbourne University Conservatorium, where he studied traditional harmony, composition and counterpoint. The awarding of an AMEB Commonwealth Scholarship enabled him to travel to Britain in 1950 to study at the Royal College of Music, London. Here he studied under Howard Ferguson and Paul Steinitz to obtain his Licentiate Diploma, before travelling to Paris on another scholarship to attend the Ecole Normale de Musique, where he studied piano with Madame Bascourret, Alfred Cortot's assistant. Humble was accepted as a private composition student by Rene Leibowitz, who introduced him to the concept of serialism.

In 1964 Humble undertook a lecture/recital tour of colleges and universities in the USA and also visited Australia briefly to present a composers' workshop, which has been regarded as being the impetus for the formation of the Melbourne Branch of the International Society for Contemporary Music. He returned permanently in 1966, taking up the position of Senior Lecturer at the Melbourne Conservatorium, where he established the Electronic Music Studio at the Grainger Centre, re-established the Opera School and formed the Society for the Private Performance of New Music.

Humble helped to found the Australian Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) in 1975, with the purpose of promoting contemporary music and encouraging and performing the work of young Australian composers. His vision for this ensemble was that it would be a national group, which would present the best of contemporary music played by the best available performers. He himself performed with the group and was their musical director until 1978.

In 1977 Humble won the National Critics Award as the most outstanding recitalist working in Australia and he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for his services to music in 1982. On his retirement from La Trobe in 1989, he was nominated emeritus professor. He continued his activities in America and France after his retirement, which included acting as consultant on the formation of New Music Literacy projects for the European Community. In Australia, Humble was involved at various times between 1988 and 1995 as a Member of the Board of Management of Deakin University's Institute of the Arts, music consultant to the Victorian College of the Arts, and a Member of the Board of Studies in Music at Monash University.

Keith Humble died on the 23rd May, 1995.

Keith Humble is featured on the following titles

Kinetic Conversations

This CD is a collection of some of the most extraordinary musical improvisations ever recorded. Composer, pianist, champion of new music, Keith Humble, and amazing American double bass player Bertram Turetzky recorded this set in 1986.


Sequenza and other works by Ian Bonighton

The tragic death, at age 33, of lan Bonighton in May 1975 robbed Australian music of one of its most promising young composers. He had been composing for little more than ten years. This remastered release showcases compositions for percussion, organ, choir, string quartet, piano, horn and electronics.


Compositions by Keith Humble also appear on

Astra 60

This CD captures a concert of Australian piano music given in celebration of Astra's support of Australian music and artists. For 60 years the Astra Chamber Music Society has presented new Australian music and Australian performers within a context of international new music developments, always informed by cultural perspectives.


Quiet on the Bridge

As with the group's previous recordings, this CD combines a range of contemporary styles and approaches, including electronic and electro-acoustic music, contemporary chamber and interactive computer music, indeterminate (open) works and improvisation.


Contemporary Australian Piano

A valuable collection of Australian compositions for piano, by some of Australia's most respected and inventive composers and performed by pianist- composer, Larry Sitsky.



Originally released on two LPs and even quadraphonic tape in the early 1970s, this double CD set is a special limited edition re-issue of Reverberations One and Two, containing contemporary music for organ, brass ensemble, voices, didjeridu and electronics.