Clarinetist Kelli O’Connor enjoys a varied and vibrant career as a soloist, educator and chamber and orchestral musician. Her performance of Carl Maria von Weber’s first Clarinet Concerto with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony earned her praise as “an individualistic player with plenty of head and heart...the star of the evening… gorgeous tone and liquid line” (New London Day). She performed the rarely-heard Clarinet Concerto of Charles Stanford at Summer Music at Harkness, and was also featured as a soloist with the United States Coast Guard Band. During the 2008-2009 season, Ms. O’Connor collaborated with Shmuel Ashkenasi on the Chamber Music at Pease series at Eastern Michigan University.
Ms. O'Connor is a founding member of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Radiance Woodwind Quintet, principal clarinet of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and Salt Marsh Opera, a member of the Connecticut Orchestra, and appears frequently with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. She served previously as principal clarinet with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and was clarinet soloist on the 2004-2005 national tour of Fiddler on the Roof. As a member of the United States Coast Guard Band she had the honor of performing at the Inauguration of President Clinton and with such eminent soloists as Placido Domingo, Martha Reeves and Lorrie Morgan.
In addition to her performing career, Ms. O’Connor is an active and enthusiastic educator. She serves on the faculties of the University of Rhode Island and the Calvary School of Music and has presented masterclasses at Baldwin-Wallace College, Northeastern University, and Salem State College. She is the founder and director of the Waterford High School Clarinet Choir, which has won many distinctions and been featured on numerous occasions as an honor ensemble at the Connecticut All-State Music Educator’s Convention.
A native of Newburgh, New York, Ms. O’Connor received a Bachelor’s Degree from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Master’s Degree from the New England Conservatory. She was a scholarship recipient and concerto competition winner at both schools. While in school, Ms. O’Connor served as principal clarinet with the prestigious Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra under conductor Jahja Ling, and had the opportunity to work with Leonard Slatkin and Christoph von Dohnanyi.