John-Edward Kelly () was born in San Francisco. Following studies of clarinet, conducting and philosophy, he embarked upon a successful 30-year international career as a saxophone soloist. He has performed at major concert venues and festivals throughout Europe, in North and South America and in Israel, as well as in hundreds of international radio and television appearances, on film, and in over 30 CD‑recordings. Kelly has given the first performances of more than 200 works by some of the most important composers of our time.
Highlights of the past seasons include performances with the Stockholm Philharmonic, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, the Munich Philharmonic, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Wales Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio Philharmonisch Orkest and Radio Kamerorkest in Amsterdam, the Berliner Staatskapelle, the Gewandhaus Orchester, the Polish Chamber Philharmonic, the Residentie Orkest, the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart und the Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin, as well as a 27-nation Live-Broadcast with the Symphony Orchestra of the Saar Radio.
In recent years, Kelly has returned increasingly to his musical roots in conducting. Kelly’s most important conducting studies were with Prof. John Boda, who had been deeply influenced by his years as assistant to George Szell in Cleveland. Since his earliest childhood, George Szell and the great violinist Adolf Busch have had a profound impact upon John-Edward Kelly’s musical attitudes. Kelly has been artistic director of the Arcos Chamber Orchestra in New York since 2005 (www.arcos-orchestra.com).
John-Edward Kelly has lectured and held master-classes at many music academies and universities (London, Helsinki, Oslo, The Hague, Stockholm, Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig, York, Detmold, Rochester, Stuttgart, Lisbon, Coimbra, Rome, Lyon); published articles concerning aesthetics and contemporary music; and held acoustics courses for architects and “Art of Listening” Courses for young people. Kelly’s university studies included Philosophy of Aesthetics and English Literature, and for many years he has been active as a professional pilot and flight instructor.
Kelly lived in Germany from 1981 until 2007, when he returned to the United States. During his time in Europe, he was professor of contemporary chamber music at the Robert Schumann Academy of Music in Dusseldorf and professor of saxophone and chamber music at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo. In 1999 he was elected unanimously to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in Stockholm, one of the most prestigious honors available to musicians.