KEITH WILLIAMS

Keith began the cello as a five-year-old after his mother noticed him playing with blocks, singing his older sibling’s violin music with better intonation than they were able to play. He began attending the Longy School of Music’s Preparatory School, studying with Barbara Paschke and participating in various training orchestras. While Keith happily developed his cellistic chops (which meant he tried to play every piece he was given as fast and exuberantly as possible), he was quickly rising to fame as a star boy soprano, singing in PALs children’s chorus, which would regularly perform cantatas at the Tanglewood Music Festival and Boston’s Symphony Hall with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Because of these incredible experiences, Keith was immersed in classic operatic and symphonic literature from a young age. He developed a voracious appetite for music, which has since led him to receive his Bachelors of Music in cello at The Juilliard School under cellist Timothy Eddy and his Master’s Degree at USC Thornton under cellist Ralph Kirshbaum, winning 1st and 2nd prizes (mainly 2nd, if we’re being honest) in many competitions along the way.

Inspired by his formative years on stage with the BSO, he joined the New England Conservatory Preparatory School when he was 13, studying with Eugene Kim. Around the same time, he suffered a devastating and long-anticipated voice change - his career as a boy soprano was over before it had truly taken off. Unsatisfied by his ability to sing seven gravelly notes, he quit singing, and started pursuing the cello more seriously (this involved learning to play things as fast as was ​tastefully possible). Immediately named principal cellist in NEC’s Youth Symphony under conductor ​Steven Karidoyanes, he joined NEC’s Youth Philharmonic Orchestra under Benjamin Zander a year later. He later joined the ​Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, also under Zander, and served as co-principal cello. In his current orchestral pursuits, he serves as one of the rotating cello principles for USC’s Thornton Symphony.

During NEC prep, an insatiable love for chamber music was nurtured by coaches Natasha Brofsky, Jason Horowitz, Gillian Rogell, and Roger Tapping. He has since attended festivals working with members of the Borromeo, Brentano, Colorado, Juilliard, Orion, Shanghai, and Takacs string quartets, as well as pianist Robert McDonald. Keith actively shares his joy for chamber music through Groupmuse, a community-driven chamber music house concert organization that allows the audience to experience chamber music in the intimate setting of a living room, away from the expectations of a concert hall. He also joyously coaches chamber music through Junior Chamber Music in Los Angeles.

Keith's passion for teaching dates back to him becoming a Suzuki certified teacher when he was just in highschool. He has now run his own private teaching studio for five years, studying the psychology of teaching and learning in order to best benefit his students during his Masters at USC. In his free time, Keith is an avid frisbee player, to the point where he played the Boston Ultimate Disc Association hat league final in a snowstorm. He refereed soccer throughout his high school years, which taught him the valuable lesson that sometimes even your best work only satisfies 50% of everyone involved. Although he no longer sings, he is grateful to his cello teachers who have guided him to find his voice through the cello, and strives to do the same with his own students.