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Meet Michael Keelan, KPR’s new Classical Music Director and morning host

Michael Keelan plays the classics weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Michael Keelan has been Classical Music Director and morning host at KPR since November 2015. He came to Lawrence from Nebraska where he was an announcer and host of Nebraska Concerts for NET Radio, professor of strings at Concordia University and a member of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra. He is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory and the University of Maryland-College Park. Prior to returning to Lincoln, his hometown, he was a violin teacher at the Wausau Conservatory in Wisconsin and concertmaster of the Green Bay Symphony for seven years.
Q: You grew up in a musical family. What was it like around the house?
A: There was always a concert of some kind coming up, so between my mom’s piano playing, my sister’s harp playing and me, there were plenty of notes. And my dad played his record collection, mostly singers, often.
Q: As a musician, how did you get into radio broadcasting?
A: I had dabbled with it on and off, but Nebraska’s network needed a substitute, which turned into a regular show, and finally filling the interim for their music director position. It’s a way for me to work with a really broad range of music, not just for the instruments I played.
Q: Do you enjoy music outside of classical music? What’s on your iPod?
A: Tom Parkinson, who hosts Morning Edition, ribs me about that - that I wouldn’t recognize the name of a non-classical musician. It’s not really that extreme, but it’s true I mainly listen to podcasts.
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not at the station?
A: I try to stay active since I sit down most of the day. My main interests outside of music are movies, food, the stock market, ancient Rome and Eastern philosophy. I also follow the Green Bay Packers since I lived there.

Q: What do you want listeners to take away from one of your morning broadcasts?
A: People listen to the radio during all kinds of activities, so I hope there’s something for everyone. I also enjoy hearing from listeners, because it’s not like a studio audience where you can “read the crowd.”
Q: Had you been acquainted with Kansas or Lawrence before?
A: I played a wedding in Marysville once and that was it! But my dad’s cousin is here. I packed my bags none too lightly and came by myself. I have a terrific little nephew in Seattle and another one coming this spring.
Q: Without taking a Facebook quiz, which great composer are you?
A: Probably Brahms. He was more of an idealist than a politician, and it took a while to really know him. But in terms of musical style, I actually used to write music as a student that sounded like Fauré. I still love his writing.

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