Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, the Grammy® Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor is one of the most compelling performers of her generation. She is internationally acclaimed equally in the pillars of the classical music canon – from Beethoven and Mahler to Brahms and Ravel – as she is in new works of modern masters – from Adams and Dessner to Lieberson and Talbot.
In the 2022-23 season, Kelley O’Connor joined Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic to open the renovated David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in a gala performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and other performances of this work brought her together with Gianandrea Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center, Xian Zhang and the San Francisco Symphony, and with José Luis Gomez and the Tuscon Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed with symphony orchestras in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, and Seattle.
John Adams wrote the title role of The Gospel According to the Other Mary for Kelley O’Connor and she has performed the work, both in concert and in the Peter Sellars fully staged production, under the batons of John Adams, Gustavo Dudamel, Grant Gershon, Gianandrea Noseda, Sir Simon Rattle, and David Robertson. She has sung the composer’s El Niño with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and continues to be the eminent living interpreter of Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs, having given this moving set of songs with Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra, with Bernard Haitink and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Robert Spano and the Minnesota Orchestra, and with David Zinman and the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich among many others.
Sought after by many of the most heralded composers of the modern day, Kelley O’Connor has given the world premieres of Joby Talbot’s A Sheen of Dew on Flowers with the Britten Sinfonia and Bryce Dessner’s Voy a Dormir with Robert Spano leading the Orchestra of St. Luke’s at Carnegie Hall with further performances accompanied by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra led by Jaime Martín.
Kelley O’Connor has received unanimous international critical acclaim for her performances as Federico García Lorca in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. Miss O’Connor created the role for the world premiere at Tanglewood, under the baton of Robert Spano, and subsequently joined Miguel Harth-Bedoya for performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and in the world-premiere of the revised edition of Ainadamar at the Santa Fe Opera in a new staging by Peter Sellars, which was also presented at Lincoln Center and the Teatro Real.
Operatic highlights include the title role of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia presented by Boston Lyric Opera in a new production by Broadway theater director Sarna Lapine conducted by David Angus, Carmen with Los Angeles Opera conducted by James Conlon, Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Lyric Opera of Chicago conducted by Patrick Summers and directed by Kevin Newbury, Madama Butterfly in a new production by Lillian Groag at the Boston Lyric Opera and at the Cincinnati Opera under the baton of Ramón Tebar, Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict at Opera Boston, Falstaff with the Santa Fe Opera, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Canadian Opera Company.
Her vivid recital career includes performances in Boston with Thomas Adès in a program of Brahms, Purcell, and Stravinsky, numerous programs under the auspices of Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago, in Cincinnati with pianist Louis Langrée in programs of Brahms and Ravel, and both in Atlanta and Jackson Hole in collaborations with pianist Donald Runnicles.
For her debut with the Atlanta Symphony in Ainadamar, Kelley O’Connor joined Robert Spano for performances and a Grammy® Award-winning Deutsche Grammophon recording. Her discography also includes Mahler’s Third Symphony with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs and Michael Kurth’s Everything Lasts Forever with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony, Adams’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra.