Keith Allen

Music Director

KEITH ALLEN was born and educated in London – he was awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, London studying clarinet with Basil Tchaikov and piano with Bernard Roberts. He then undertook post-graduate studies at Birmingham University and Kingston University, gaining a Master’s Degree from the University of West London. He played clarinet and saxophone in numerous orchestras, and worked with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Keith was Saxophone Tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire and Head of Birmingham Music Service.

His current positions include Music Director: Birmingham Symphonic Winds; Festival Director: National Concert Band Festival – the UK’s largest wind band & big band festival; member of the Advisory Board of the London International Music Festival and Consultant Editor: Faber Music Ltd. His busy schedule includes adjudicating across all musical genres at numerous festivals in the UK, as well as guest conducting in America, Spain, Latvia, Ireland, Hong Kong, Australia, China and the UK.

Keith Allen founded Birmingham Symphonic Winds in 1992. With a dedication to the creation and performance of contemporary works for this medium, BSW has premiered over 50 pieces (many of them commissions) from British, American and European composers, including Malcolm Arnold, Benjamin Britten, David Bedford, Mark Camphouse, Nigel Clarke, Michael Daugherty, Jonathan Dove, Martin Ellerby, Kenneth Hesketh, Nigel Hess, David Maslanka, Mike Mower, John Rutter, Philip Sparke, and Guy Woolfenden both in the UK and abroad. Keith Allen with BSW have recorded CD’s for Faber Music, Studio Music. and R. Smith & Co as well as 10 BSW albums and also a number of broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. Keith has worked with numerous distinguished soloists including Alison Balsom (trumpet), Juliette Bausor (flute), David Childs (euphonium), Evelyn Glennie (percussion), Hannah Marcinowicz (saxophone), Gerald McChrystal (saxophone), Linda Merrick (clarinet), Craig Ogden (guitar), Simone Rebello (percussion) and Sarah Williamson (clarinet).

Keith Allen conducted Solihull Youth Wind Orchestra from 2004 - 2022 and from 2005 - 2007 was conductor of Katabatic Winds, the regional youth wind ensemble based at The Sage Gateshead. Keith  is a regular visitor to America conducting British repertoire. In 2006, he presented a lecture at the CBDNA Conference at NorthWestern University, Illinois and in 2011 conducted the Minnesota Intercollegiate Honors Band, University of Minnesota Duluth Symphonic Wind Ensemble and Twin Ports Wind Orchestra. In 2013 he was Conductor in Residence at the University of St Thomas and Guest Conductor of Grand Symphonic Winds in St Pauls/Minneapolis. Keith has conducted concerts at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago with Birmingham Symphonic Winds in 2003 and Grand Symphonic Winds in 2019. Since 2014, he has represented UK composers at the ‘ncbf Best of British Music’ trade stand at the Midwest Clinic where he will also be the UK representative at an international conductors’ symposium in December 2022.