Born in the West Midlands, Keith Slade began his musical journey learning the clarinet from the age of ten. After reaching the final of the BBC Young Musician of the Year Woodwind Category, Keith graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music where he was awarded the Hilda Collens’ prize. He furthered his studies under the guidance of Angela Malsbury and Nicholas Rodwell on a postgraduate degree at the Royal Academy of Music supported by the Countess of Munster Trust. At the RAM, Keith was awarded the Dorothy Grinstead Memorial Prize for the most outstanding postgraduate, the John Solomon Woodwind and Brass Prize and the Morgensterns’ Award.
Keith has extensive experience as an orchestral musician and has worked with orchestras including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and the BBC Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Richard Hickox, Pierre Boulez and Andris Nelsons. He regularly tours with London Festival Opera which has taken him as far afield as Zimbabwe (HIFA Festival), Barbados (Holders’ Festival) and, most recently, La Fenice Opera House, Venice. As a soloist, Keith has performed concerti by Mozart, Finzi, Weber and Copland in venues throughout the UK.
Keith found his passion for conducting whilst studying at the RNCM, and in 2012 was selected to participate on the Colin Metters’ International Conducting Course. Recent appointments include Head of Wind and Brass at the Birmingham Conservatoire Junior School and Head of Woodwind at Oakham School. Keith has conducted the National Schools’ Symphony Orchestra, The British Police Symphony Orchestra, St Endellion Easter Festival Orchestra and the WorldCon Philharmonic Orchestra at London’s ExCeL Arena. Keith has worked with artists including James MacMillan, Mark Padmore, Roderick Williams and Sarah Fox.
In January 2010, Keith was appointed Music Director of the Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra where he has seen the ensemble grow from strength-to-strength; now with 65 regular members, the WSO performs several concerts each season and Keith is a regular guest on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester promoting the orchestra and classical music amongst the local community. In 2014 WSO commissioned a new Children’s work in the style of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf entitled The Magic Bojabi Tree which was a huge success. In recognition of his services to WSO, Keith was honoured to be invited by Her Majesty the Queen to a private gathering to celebrate HRH’s Diamond Jubilee in Worcester.