University of Illinois System
HomeAbout the OfficeCommunicationsIssuesPrograms

Music as Muse

Everyone needs creative outlets. For University of Illinois System President Tim Killeen, playing classical guitar is a go-to. He began playing guitar as a young teenager.

Killeen's musical taste is varied. The self-taught musician changes up performance venues, too. Often, a sunny space in his home at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign provides just the right acoustics and inspiration.

Soon after talking the helm at the U of I System, Killeen shared his musical talent at the 2015 Ellnora Guitar Festival at Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Showcasing his range, he played Antonio Lauro’s Venezuelan Suite No. 1 “Registro” and “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.

He played “Villancico de Navidad” by Agustin Barrios Mangore in his very first holiday message. Messages from Killeen and his wife, Roberta Johnson Killeen – including his musical accompaniment – are now a tradition.

Aside from his own performances, Killeen encouraged everyone to turn to music from the system’s three universities in summer 2020 to help cope with the early challenges in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enjoy his recent solo performances below or visit his YouTube playlist to see these and other performances, including holiday messages.


Hello in There

Play the Hello in There video below, or watch on YouTube



Play the Traumerei video below, or watch on YouTube



Play the Fotheringay video below, or watch on YouTube



Play the Seguir video below, or watch on YouTube


Preludio en Mi Mayor

Play the Preludio en Mi Mayor video below, or watch on YouTube



Play the Preludes video below, or watch on YouTube