Classical guitarist Catherine O’Kelly is an active performer throughout New England, both as a soloist and as a chamber musician. She performs regularly as part of the concert series for The Shirley Meeting House in Shirley, MA, and in 2015 she earned an auditioned spot on the concert series for The Windsor Arts Center in Windsor, CT. In 2012 Catherine performed as the soloist in Four Rhodian Scenes by Thomas McGah with The Hartt School’s Capitol Winds. In June 2020 Catherine founded and directed the Online Guitar Festival, providing performance opportunities, master classes, composition classes, and songwriting classes to guitarists of all ages and levels. The festival commissioned the ensemble piece Kaleidoscope: A Community from composer Michael Stubblefield, and festival participants performed a live premiere online.
In 2011 Catherine and flautist Arielle Burke formed the flute and guitar duo Tedesco Duo. Their name comes from the composer of the first piece they performed, Sonatina for Flute and Guitar, by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. As a duo they feature contemporary music in their programs and have performed as part of the The Rivers School Conservatory’s Seminar on Contemporary Music. Tedesco Duo has also appeared on the concert series for The Shirley Meeting House and The Saybrook at Haddam. In addition to contemporary music, their repertoire covers a wide range of eras and styles, from Renaissance songs to their own arrangements of Beatles tunes.
Catherine is currently finishing her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in classical guitar performance at The Hartt School in West Hartford, CT, where she studies with Christopher Ladd. She earned a position with The Hartt School’s Honors Chamber Music Program, Performance 20/20, providing her a full scholarship for her doctoral studies. As part of her doctoral degree, she taught several courses at Hartt, including Basic Guitar I and II, and Lute Tablature. Catherine earned her Master’s degree in guitar performance in 2013, also at The Hartt School, where she studied with Richard Provost; and she earned her BA in music and philosophy from Vassar College in 2011. While at Vassar, Catherine pursued a wide range of musical interests: she studied oboe, guitar, and choral and orchestral conducting. She performed oboe with the Vassar College Orchestra and sang in the Vassar College Women’s Chorus. For all four years she was actively involved in the student-run contemporary music group, The Mahagonny Ensemble: she performed oboe and guitar in the Mahagonny Orchestra, sang in the Mahagonny chorus, and directed the Mahagonny Chorus for her final two years of college. Catherine has performed guitar in master classes for Jason Vieaux, Odair Assad, Sergio Assad, Andrew York, Vladimir Gorbach, Antigoni Goni, Oscar Ghiglia, Eliot Fisk, Thibaut Garcia, Xavier Jara, and Jorge Caballero.
In addition to her performing and academic studies, Catherine teaches at The Rivers School Conservatory in Weston, MA; Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA; Powers Music School in Belmont, MA; and at The Community School of the Arts in Storrs, CT. Her students have performed in master classes for composer Leo Brouwer and guitarist Sharon Isbin. She is a registered Suzuki teacher, and as a former Suzuki student herself, she is passionate about teaching young students through the Suzuki method.