Musicnotes is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Lauren K. Keiser. Lauren’s obituary is below, and we encourage our readers to reflect on his life achievements, experiences, and contributions to the music industry.
Lauren spent the majority of his career supporting composers, producing and promoting their works. He published and edited hundreds of music books, folios and arrangements. In addition, he created and co-founded Music in Our Schools, the annual celebration of music in the schools in the United States.
He believed in fighting the good fight.
He will be deeply missed.
“Lauren inspired me to invest my time and energy to protect songwriters and their publishers.”
Lauren K. Keiser
Lauren Keiser passed away on May 22, 2020 after a long illness. Born in Portland, Oregon on June 13, 1945, Lauren joined the military after graduation from high school. He served in the Army Security Agency as a linguist at Kagnew Station in Asmara, Ethiopia (now Eritrea) from 1966-68, then headed to the east coast to pursue a career in music.
Lauren’s passion for music began in his teens when he began to compose music on the piano. While in New York, he studied privately with composers Elie Siegmeister, Isaac Nemiroff and Krzysztof Penderecki. He became a talented composer and innovative music publisher for over 40 years, working at Alfred, Cherry Lane and Carl Fischer Music. While president of Cherry Lane Music, the company published songbooks, sheet music and choral music for popular singer/songwriters of the 70s and 80s including John Denver, Kenny Rogers, the Muppets and The Beatles. A huge fan of the music of the Beatles, Lauren was proud to be part of the creation of the piano/vocal/guitar two volume set The Compleat Beatles in 1981. As an arranger and editor of the work, he insisted that the printed music and guitar chords be accurate and in the same key as the Beatles’ recorded music. He also created a monthly magazine entitled Guitar for the Practicing Musician in 1982, which was published until 1999 and was the most popular music publication at newsstands.
Lauren was president of the Music Publishers Association of the United States from 2005-2012. He addressed issues of illegal downloads and created a campaign to educate school administrators and school boards about the legal uses of print music.
In 2007, his composition EROS for string orchestra was given its world premiere in Moscow, Russia in the Hall of Composers. He and his son Matthew were in attendance for the performance.
Most recently, Lauren was the owner and President of Keiser Southern Music. His son Matthew has succeeded him as President and will continue the work of publishing fine quality and accurate band, orchestral and instrumental music.
Lauren is survived by his wife Patti of Woodbury, CT, their son Matthew of Oakville, CT, his son Jonathan and his wife Nary of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, his grandson Frederick, granddaughters Alexandra and Julia, his sister, Jeannine Kafoury and her husband Ivan of Portland, Oregon, his nephew Jerry Upham and his wife Dona of Palm Desert, California, his grandniece Morgan Upham of Los Angeles, California and his sister-in-law Susan Pierson and her husband Richard of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.
Funeral services are private. A celebration of Lauren’s life will take place in New York City at a later date. Arrangements are by Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home, 2 School Street, Woodbury, CT. To leave an online condolence, visit www.MunsonLovetereFuneralHome.com.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations in Lauren’s memory may be made to the ASCAP Foundation, 250 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10107.