Keith Hempton

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About Keith Hempton

I’ve been a presenter at 5mbs for about two years. I like vocal and choral stuff and early music, so I present Sounds Classical, On Wings of Song, and Baroque and Before. I’m also happy doing local concerts and In the Spotlight. I don’t pre-record so all my programs are live. I spend a certain amount of time alone at the station, singing along and eating the snakes.

I met Bill Lawson (another presenter) at the opera, and he said “Watcha doin?” and I said “Not much” and he said ‘Why don’t you do not much at a radio station?” to which I replied “Bill’s yer uncle!”

From 1995-2010, I was Head of Vocal Studies and Co-ordinator of the Performance Honours Programme at the Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide University.

After graduating from Sydney University, I taught modern languages for three years at Sydney Grammar School. Turning my attention to singing, I studied in England where I sang with Glyndebourne Opera and gave recitals at the Wigmore Hall in London and in the provinces. I returned to Australia in 1976 as principal bass with the State Opera of South Australia.

During my career, I have appeared as a principal with the Australian Opera, Queensland Lyric Opera and the Western Australian Opera Company including the title role in Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale”, Seneca in Monteverdi’s “Coronation of Poppea” and Bartolo in Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro”. I have also sung with many of the state symphony orchestras and with conductors such as Mark Elder, Barry Tuckwell, Carlo Felice Cillario and the late Myer Fredman, and was a member of the Song Company from 1986-1990.

Music I like, don’t like – Handel gives me visceral joy. But in general, I don’t like Rachmaninov, nor Liszt…. strangely I like the operatic doodlers and virtuoso composers like Donizetti and Bellini but hate piano writing that seems just for show.

When not at 5mbs, I give lectures on opera, adjudicate eisteddfodau, teach French at the University of the Third Age, belong to a book club at Alliance Française, play the piano (badly), and sing every day.

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