KATHLEEN KELLY enjoys a wide-ranging and dynamic musical life as a pianist, opera coach, conductor, and master teacher. The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Kathleen recently joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as that school's first Coach/Conductor of Opera. She conducted Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto there in March 2015. Summer 2015 found her at the helm of Wolf Trap Opera's Le nozze di Figaro. In October, Kathleen conducts the premiere of Emmerich Kálmán's Arizona Lady at Arizona Opera.
Recently, Kathleen conducted Francesca Zambello's critically acclaimed Ariadne on Naxos at the 2014 Glimmerglass Festival; the production was a finalist in the 2015 International Opera Awards. In 2014, she conducted the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's A Coffin in Egypt, starring Frederica von Stade. She accompanied song recitals at Tucson's Desert Song Festival (with soprano Christine Goerke), the Kennedy Center (with Amber Wagner, Jamie Barton, and Michael Kelly), and at the University of Texas at Austin. Upcoming master classes and recitals are planned at Arizona Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, the Castleton Festival, Arizona State University, Western Ontario University, Vanderbilt University, and the Neue Gallerie in Manhattan. She recently joined baritone Michael Kelly as co-artistic director of SongFusion in New York City.
Kathleen is a regular guest coach for Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz program, and works regularly with young artist programs nationally, notably at the Los Angeles Opera, the Chicago Lyric Opera, and the Houston Grand Opera. While on faculty at the University of Texas at Austin, she was the principal coach of the Butler Opera Center.
Kathleen Kelly was trained in the Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera, after which she joined the house music staff as pianist, rehearsal conductor, and prompter. She was an assistant to James Levine at the Metropolitan Opera from 1997-2006, specializing in the works of Wagner, Strauss, and Berg. During that time, she was the focus of a Wall Street Journal article and a Metropolitan Opera radio broadcast feature. From 2003-2008 Kathleen was also the Music Director of the Berkshire Opera, conducting two productions each summer and overseeing the young artist program.
Kathleen moved on at the invitation of Maestro Patrick Summers to become the music director of the Houston Grand Opera Studio as well as that company's Head of Music Staff from 2006-2010. Highlights of these years include conducting her own chamber music arrangement of Hansel und Gretel in a remarkable production by Basil Twist, serving as pianist each year for the Eleanor McCollum competition, and curating the HGOS recital series at Rienzi.
At the Vienna State Opera from 2010-2013, Kathleen oversaw the daily musical life of more the fifty ensemble singers in more than fifty operas, the world's biggest and busiest season. At the Staatsoper she also curated a recital series in the house's famous Mahlersaal, and served as the series' principal pianist. She was the recitative accompanist for new productions of Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, and assisted Maestro Franz Welser-Möst on new productions of Kat'a Kabanova and Z mrtvého domu.
Kathleen Kelly has also been notably associated with the Glimmerglass Festival's Young American Artist Program, the CoOperative Training Program at Westminster Choir College, the Seattle Opera, Opera Australia, and the Moscow Conservatory. As a recital pianist she has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and Vienna's Musikverein. She gives master classes at universities and conservatories around the country.