Constance Keene



Competition Winner

Born: February 9, 1921 (Brooklyn, NY)

Died: December 24, 2005 (New York, NY)

Constance Keene was an American pianist renowned for her 1964 recording of Rachmaninoff's Preludes. She also won critical acclaim for her recordings of the works by Hummel, Carl Maria von Weber and Felix Mendelssohn as well as Rachmaninoff's Etudes-Tableaux, Op. 33 and Op. 39.

Ms. Keene began playing piano at age 4. She completed high school at 15 but never attended college or a conservatory. At age 13 she began piano studies with Abram Chasins, the pianist, composer, writer and broadcaster (NYC' classical WQXR radio), marrying Chasins in 1949. She was the winner of the 1943 Naumburg Competition. During WW II she toured Army installations for the U.S.O. At one camp, in Mississippi, she played eight concerts in three days for 65,000 soldiers. In 1946, she stood in for Vladimir Horowitz when he was unavailable for a concert. She also appeared with Benny Goodman and his orchestra in a performance of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Artur Rubinstein said that her recording of the Rachmaninoff Preludes left him "completely flabbergasted by the fantastic sweep, color, tone and last but not least, by the incredible technique."

A well known and respected teacher, she taught the children of Arthur Rubinstein. Peter Nero was also a student. She was also a longtime member of the Manhattan School of Music piano faculty (1969-2005) as well as a member of the school's board of trustees. Ms. Keene served as a juror at major competitions and gave master classes in Europe, Asia and South Africa.


1943 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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