Franklin Keel, cello
Franklin Keel began studying violin when he was three years old before he discovered the celloat the age of six. He earned scholarships to the Eastman School of Music, the Brevard Music Center (where he was a finalist in the Jan & Beattie Wood Concerto Competition), and the IcicleCreek Chamber Music Festival. He has appeared as a soloist with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, the Brevard Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Blue Ridge Orchestra. He has shared the concert stage with Emmanuel Ax, Béla Fleck, Warren Haynes, Bright Eyes, Ben Sollee, Free Planet Radio, Stephanie's Id, the Get Right Band, the Jon Stickley Trio, and Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band. He has recorded for Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, Josh Phillips, Ben Lovette, Jane Kramer, the Secret B-Sides, and Holiday Childress, as well as full-length albums for Ben Phantom, Free Planet Radio, and Sirius.B. He is now Associate Principal Cello with the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, and he performs in many locally and regionally acclaimed projects such as the Opal String Quartet, Ben Phantom, Upland Drive, and Sirius.B. As an avid chamber musician, he has collaborated regularly with Pan Harmonia, Amici Music, and the musicians of the Asheville Symphony. Also a passionate educator, Mr. Keel taught orchestra and chorus for Henderson County Public Schools, served as a conductor for the Hendersonville Symphony Youth Orchestra program as well as interim conductor for the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra. Alongside his colleagues in the Opal String Quartet, he continues to give clinics and classes to young string players across Western North Carolina. He currently teaches string orchestra at Asheville Middle and High Schools and is the strings coach for the Asheville Symphony Youth Orchestra.