Clarinetist Kelli O’Connor enjoys a varied and vibrant career as a soloist, educator and chamber and orchestral musician. A founding member of the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston and the Radiance Woodwind Quintet, Ms. O’Connor is principal clarinet of the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra and a former member of the Connecticut Orchestra, and appears frequently with the Vermont Symphony, Hartford Symphony Orchestra and as acting principal clarinet of the New Haven Symphony.
She served previously as principal clarinet with the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and Salt Marsh Opera, 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.
Ms. O’Connor has been featured on numerous occasions as a soloist with the Eastern Connecticut Symphony. Her performance of Copland’s Clarinet Concerto in 2012 earned her praise in the New London Day as “the star of the evening…playing with the rich timbre and unhurried phrasing that are her trademarks.” Following a 2000 performance of Weber’s first Clarinet Concerto, the Day described her as “an individualistic player with plenty of head and heart...gorgeous tone and liquid line.” 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. In April 2016 she performed the West Coast premiere of Oscar Navarro’s II Concerto with the Downey Symphony (CA).
As a member of the Radiance Woodwind Quintet, Ms. O’Connor has made appearances on the Newburgh Chamber Music Series, Calvary Music Concert Series, and La Grua Concert Series, and given many educational concerts and masterclasses. Radiance premiered the Sextet for Violin and Winds by Don Wallace in May 2013 in Hartford. As a member of Chameleon Arts Ensemble she participated in a residency and gave a masterclass at Lee University. During the 2008-2009 season, Ms. O’Connor collaborated with Shmuel Ashkenasi on the Chamber Music at Pease series at Eastern Michigan University. She has also appeared as a guest artist on the Hop River Chamber Music series in Andover, CT
In addition to her performing career, Ms. O’Connor is an active and enthusiastic educator. She presently serves on the faculties of the University of Rhode Island, Central Connecticut State University, Connecticut College, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, and on the faculty roster for the InterHarmony Music Festival in Italy. She is a former faculty member of the Calvary Music School, where she spent eighteen years providing private clarinet and saxophone instruction to area students. She has presented masterclasses and recitals at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, Lee University, Baldwin-Wallace University, Northeastern University, and Salem State College, and 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.
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