Humble, (Leslie) Keith

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Humble, (Leslie) Keith

Humble, (Leslie) Keith, Australian pianist, conductor, teacher, and composer; b. Geelong, Victoria, Sept. 6, 1927. After obtaining his diploma at the Melbourne Cons.(1949), he studied with Vivian Langrish (piano) and Howard Ferguson (composition) at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1950–51). He then went to Paris and studied with Cortot (piano) at the École Normale de Musique (1951–52), and then privately with Leibowitz (composition and conducting, 1952-54). In 1959 he founded Le Centre de Musique in Paris, which he led as musical director until 1968. In 1966 he became senior lecturer in composition at the Melbourne Cons., and also founded its electronic music studio. From 1971 to 1974 he was a prof, at the Univ. of Calif. at San Diego. In 1974 he became the Foundation Prof, in the music dept. of La Trobe Univ. in Victoria, Australia, which position he held until 1989 when he became prof, emeritus. From 1975 to 1978 he was music director of the Australia Contemporary Music Ensemble. He was a visiting prof, at the Univ. of Calif. at San Diego from 1982 to 1990, where he made appearances as a soloist and conductor with the Ensemble Sonor. In 1982he was made a Member of the Order of Australia. A confirmed avant-gardist, Humble early on developed a personal 12-tone method. He later experimented with improvisationin a series of works he called Nuniques.Still later he explored the realm of temporal composition.


String Trio (1953); 4 piano sonatas (1959; 1977, rev. 1980; 1985; 1990); Ainsi s’achève for Chamber Ensemble (1967); Music for Monuments for Instruments and/or Voices and Prepared Tape (1967); Materials for Larountala for 22 Solo Strings (1968); Solfège I for Diverse Instruments and Electronics ad libitum (1968) and II for Performer and Electronics (1969); Nunique I-IX, improvisation pieces (1968–84); Arcade I-V for Solo Instrument, Chamber Ensemble, Orch., or Tape (all 1969); Apres La Legende for Piano and Orch. (1969); La Legende, cantata for Voice, Chorus, Electronics, and Instruments (1970); Statico I for Organ and 2 Synthesizers (1971) and III for Orch. (1972–73); A Music for Baroque Ensemble for Harpsichord, Flute, Oboe, and Double Bass (1971); Now V, opera (1971); Prime Riff for Percussion Ensemble and Tape (1974); A.C.F.for Chamber Ensemble (1980); Trio No. 2 for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano (1982); Ways, By-Ways for Chamber Ensemble (1983); Trio No. 3 for Flute, Percussion, and Piano (1985); Percussion Sonata (1986); Soundscapes for Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble (1987; also for Instrumental Ensemble and Pre-recorded Tape); Etchings for Percussion Quartet (1988); 4All Seasons for Strings (1989); Flute Sonata (1990); Concert No. 1 for Flute and Strings (1991) and No. 2 for Trombone and String Sextet or String Orch. or Chamber Music Ensemble (1992); A Symphony (of Sorrows) for Orch. (1994); Trio No. 5 for Organ, Trumpet, and Trombone (1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire