Remembering Bowers Museum CEO Dr. Peter C. Keller

Dr. Peter C. Keller | Photo courtesy of the Bowers Museum

The staff of Classical California KUSC joins family, friends, and colleagues of Dr. Peter C. Keller in mourning the unexpected death of the longtime President and CEO of the Bowers Museum. Keller died Tuesday at the age of 75.

KUSC had the honor of working closely with Dr. Keller since 2019, when we produced our first KUSC Kids Discovery Day at the Santa Ana-based museum. From the outset, Peter was head cheerleader for our partnership. In a live on-air interview, he expressed his excitement about filling the museum’s beautiful spaces with classical music. Only two weeks ago, he brought his welcoming spirit and customary humor to a meeting we were having at the Museum in preparation for our upcoming KUSC Kids Discovery Day at the Bowers, which takes place on Sunday, December 4th.

A geologist by training and a tireless world traveler—he made more than 100 trips to China in the past 25 years, rafted the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, and recently traveled to the South Pole—Keller is credited with building an international reputation for the Bowers. Though renowned for its collection of California art and artifacts, the museum under Keller’s leadership focused on displaying fine art and culture from around the world. In his 31 years at the museum’s helm, Keller presented more than 50 acclaimed exhibitions, including the blockbuster Terra Cotta Warriors.

According to a Bowers staff member, “those who knew him well understood that, in many ways, his final day was an ideal one for him – putting in a full day of work in preparation for the opening of an exceptional exhibition that he was very proud of, Guo Pei: Art of Couture, followed by dinner with his wife.”

To learn more about Dr. Peter C. Keller, please click here for the official announcement from the Bowers Museum.


Gail Eichenthal

Gail Eichenthal is the Senior Director of Community Engagement for the USC Radio Group, which includes KUSC Los Angeles and KDFC San Francisco.

In 1978, Gail became the first woman to host the national radio broadcasts of an American orchestra, hosting and producing the LA Philharmonic broadcasts for more than 20 years. From 1994-2005, Gail expanded her career into news, working as a staff reporter and anchor at KNX-AM, the CBS news station. She is a member of the USC Thornton School of Music Board of Councilors.

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