Andrea Keller

Born of Czech parents in 1973, Andrea Keller grew up in Sydney, Australia.

Convinced from a young age that she would be a musician, she studied piano, flute and saxophone at the Sydney Conservatorium High School. Inspired by her older brother, she penned her first compositions at the age of 10, and received her A-mus-a with distinction on piano at age 14. It was around this time that she was introduced to jazz music and the art of improvisation. Continuing to explore classical, jazz and original musics throughout her teenage years, her musical path became more defined when she moved to Melbourne in 1993 to attend the Victorian College of the Arts.

During Keller's professional career, she has led many projects as a pianist, whose focus has been to perform her original compositions and arrangements, most notably Still Night: Music in Poetry, Five Below, Transients, Masters & Apprentices, The Andrea Keller Quartet, The Bartok Project, The Wayne Shorter Project, The Komeda Project, From Ether, and Three Lanes. She was a co-founding member of the original Bennetts Lane Big Band (2001-2013), and is a Yamaha artist, and a represented artist of the Australian Music Centre.

Since 1996 Keller has been an active educator in Melbourne’s tertiary jazz & improvisation departments, including the Faculty of the VCA and MCM University of Melbourne, Monash University and Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly NMIT). She has been invited to give workshops at the Australian National Academy of Music, Queensland Conservatorium, Monash University, Perth Jazz Society, Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts, Queensland University of Technology, NMIT, VCA, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and was integral in the annual jazz/improvisation workshops for school aged girls, ‘Girls Do Jazz’, presented by the Melbourne International Women’s Jazz Festival (2000-2007).
Keller is currently Lecturer in Music (Jazz & Improvisation - Piano) at the VCA/MCM.

The diversity of Keller’s approach to music has seen her perform in settings ranging from big band to solo, and has placed her on stage with artists such as Eddie Perfect, Genevieve Lacey, John Surman (UK), Nicole Lizee (CA), Ronan Guilfoyle (IE), the Black Arm Band, Bernie McGann, the Australian Art Orchestra, Sandy Evans, Flinders Quartet, Allan Browne, Ten Part Invention, Phil Slater, The Song Company, Mike Nock, Gian Slater, Barney McAll, James Crabb, and more.

With a growing body of work traversing styles, Keller has been invited to compose and arrange music for Ensemble Offspring (2017), The Sydney Women's Jazz Collective (2016), The Letter String Quartet (2016), The Song Company (2015), Marshall McGuire (harp)(2015), Zephyr (string) Quartet (2015 & 2014), Black Arm Band (2012-current), Genevieve Lacey & James Crabb Duo (2014), ‘Poetica’ ABC Radio National (2013), Genevieve Lacey (recorder)(2013), Four Winds Festival (2010), ANU Canberra (2010), Claire Edwardes (percussionist)(2010), Melbourne Women’s International Jazz Festival (2010, 2003, 2000), Seraphim Trio (2009), Ten Part Invention (2009), Royal Children’s Hospital (2008), Mike Nock (2002), Australian Art Orchestra (2002).

Lauded for her music, Keller has received three ARIA Awards, six Australian Jazz ‘Bell’ Awards, two Art Music Awards, an APRA Professional Development Award, the Merlyn Myer Composing Women's Commission, and fellowships from the MCA/Freedman Foundation and the Australia Council. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Improvisation (Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts (2001) and a Master of Arts (Research) from Queensland University of Technology (2011).

This is totally original music; by that read no one else composes anything like this.
— Michael Prescott 2014
… The mind and sound-world of Andrea Keller, a place that is one of the most original – if not the most original – in Australian jazz.
— John Hardaker 2013
Andrea Keller has one of Australia’s most consistently interesting musical minds.
— Doug Spencer, August 2007
Keller’s compositions are innately distinctive and interesting. If jazz conventionally has a soul rooted in the blues, Keller’s version is much more cross-fertilised with contemporary classical music… Keller was a joy throughout with her delicate touch and beautiful ways of building tension.
— John Shand, 2006
One of the most original thinkers on the Australian scene... she has the priceless ability to think outside the square.
— Adrian Jackson, 2005
One of this country’s most daring and fascinating composers, she produces work that bristles with surprises, a powerful blend of European lyricism with space and improvisation.
— Leon Gettler, 2005