James F. Keene retired from the University of Illinois in 2008, where he held the titles of Director of Bands and Brownfield Distinguished Professor of Music. During his twenty-three-year tenure at Illinois, the Symphonic Band and Wind Symphony, under his direction, were selected to perform for every major music conference in the U.S., toured throughout the U.S. and Europe, and performed in several of America’s most prestigious concert halls including Orchestra Hall in Chicago and Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York. Mr. Keene is Past-President of the American Bandmasters Association, the National Band Association, and the Big Ten Band Directors Association. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the historic Goldman Memorial Band of New York City and was a frequent guest conductor of that iconic ensemble.
In 1995 he became an honorary member of the Board of Directors of the International Percy Grainger Society and was presented with the coveted Grainger Medallion in recognition of his performances of Grainger’s music on four continents. In 2002, he was named Honorary Life Member of the Texas Bandmasters Association. In 2009, he was installed into the Bands of America Hall of Fame. More recently, Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Honorary Fraternity presented him with the 2013 Outstanding Bandmaster Award at the Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Professor Keene is in constant demand as conductor, clinician, and adjudicator, and has appeared in those capacities in forty-four states and on four continents.