September 9, 2021
A.J. Keller '14 MMus, '20 DMA is an active performer, conductor, and educator throughout the Chicagoland area. In addition to his work on the choral faculty at Northwestern, he is the founder and artistic director of Stare at the Sun, a Chicago-based, 24-voice professional chamber choir specializing in the curation of contemporary music, and he serves as the Music Director at Glencoe Union Church.
A.J. has been actively involved in various projects both within and beyond Chicago. He served as chorus master for the Chicago premiere of Jake Heggie's Moby-Dick with Chicago Opera Theater and as assistant chorus master for the world premiere of David Lang's prisoner of the state with the New York Philharmonic, conducted by Jaap van Zweden. Prior to that, he served as a music assistant in the American premiere of Lang's 1000-voice crowd out at Chicago's Millennium Park. He is also internationally active, recently serving as guest conductor in an artistic collaboration with the Danish contemporary-music chamber choir Ensemble Edge, involving performances of Lang's the little match girl passion at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and OrkesterEfterskolen in Holstebro. Previous faculty appointments include serving as Director of Choral Activities at Beloit College and a sabbatical replacement appointment on the choral faculty at North Park University. He has also served as Artistic Director of the Wicker Park Choral Singers and Assistant Conductor at the Green Lake Choral Institute. Originally trained as a K-12 music educator, he has held various teaching positions throughout the Chicagoland area and still teaches privately.
A.J.'s primary areas of interest are contemporary choral music, postminimalism, and the Danish New Simplicity style, with an emphasis on the vocal works of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, and he earned the Master of Music and Doctor of Music degrees, both in conducting, from the Bienen School of Music.