Leisa Keen

Tutor - Girls Jazz Program
Open School

Leisa has been working in the Australian music industry for over 25 years, in both jazz and musical theatre/cabaret.

Since 1990, Leisa has musically directed and performed in over 150 shows, including "Beauty and the Beast", "Chess", "A Chorus Line", "Little Shop of Horrors", "West Side Story", "Jesus Christ Superstar", “Phantom Of The Opera”, “Cats” and many others.

After training in classical piano for 12 years, Leisa then went on to study jazz vocals at the Canberra School of Music ANU, under the direction of Gery Scott, for 6 years. It was here that she also gained the valuable writing and arranging skills that have assisted in her musical direction and performance, making her one of Canberra's, Sydney’s and the Gold Coast's most sought-after accompanists and musical directors.

In 2001, Leisa performed the role of "Lucy Harris" in the Australian premiere production of "Jekyll & Hyde", playing opposite Donald Cant as Jekyll/Hyde. This performance lead to her winning a CAT award for “Best Actress in a Musical”.

Other onstage credits include playing Mrs Potts in "Beauty and the Beast", The Plant in "Little Shop of Horrors", the Fairy Godmother in "Cinderella", the Dolly Parton Pig in "The 3 Little Pigs", and Wishy Washy and the Genie in "Aladdin". She has also made several appearances with the Royal Military College Duntroon Band, as a soloist at the popular Music at Midday concert series, as well as the Chief Minister's Senior's Week concerts.

Leisa has shared the stage with artists such as internationally acclaimed jazz vocal group The Manhattan Transfer, Jon English, Simon Gallaher, Todd McKenney, Toni Lamond, Noni Hazelhurst, Amanda Muggleton, John Foreman, and many other talented entertainers.

In 2013, Leisa was awarded a Canberra Critics Circle Award for her services to music in Canberra, as well as a CAT Award as “Best Musical Director” for Freerain Theatre Company’s production of “Cats”.

 

In November of 2019, Leisa performed, to critical review, in the world premiere of a new song cycle “Flight Memory”, written by Sandra France and Alanna Valentine. Other cast members were Australian jazz greats - Michelle Nicolle and Liam Budge.

In her spare time, Leisa performs around Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast as a piano vocalist in various venues, and with several of her jazz combos, including “The Leisa Keen Trio” “John Mackey and Leisa Keen Jazz Duo”, and “O Christmas Trio”. She also frequently accompanies other artists in Canberra, Sydney and the Gold Coast, as well as taking her various bands to jazz festivals all over Australia and New Zealand. Leisa also teaches singing and piano.

Updated:  13 May 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications