Kelley O’Connor


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 2023-24 season, Kelley O’Connor performs with the Houston Symphony in John Adams’ El Niño led by David Robertson, and brings Peter Lieberson’s Neruda Songs to concerts with the New World Symphony under the baton of Stéphane Denève, with the Omaha Symphony and Music Director Ankush Bahl, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra led by Johannes Fritzsch. Kelley O’Connor performs as a soloist in Mahler’s Second Symphony with the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Michael Stern and in the composer’s Third Symphony with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and she joins the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Fabio Luisi for Schmidt’s seldom-performed Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln. Additional performances of the season include Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Mozart’s Requiem with the Oregon Symphony under the direction of Music Director Michael Danzmayr. A vibrant chamber music schedule this season includes concerts in the Bay Area with New Century Chamber Orchestra and recitals with pianist Myra Huang at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival and with pianist Robert Spano at Chamber Music in Napa Valley.

Last season, Kelley O’Connor was the Alto Soloist in performances of Mahler’s Second Symphony with Giancarlo Guerrero and the Nashville Symphony and with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. She 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. Other performances of this work brought her together with Gianandrea Noseda and the National Symphony Orchestra, Xian Zhang and the San Francisco Symphony, and with José Luis Gomez and the Tuscon Symphony Orchestra. She returned to the Saint Louis Symphony for performances of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Stéphane Denève, appeared with Xian Zhang and the New Jersey Symphony in Mahler’s Third Symphony, and made a debut with the Taiwan Philharmonic in Berlioz’s Roméo et Juliette led by Jun Märkl. With Sir Donald Runnicles, Kelley O’Connor gave the world premiere of a new work by the Syrian-American composer, Kareem Roustom, at the Grand Teton Music Festival and she brought life to John Corigliano’s One Sweet Morning with Peter Oundjian and the Colorado Music Festival.

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 critical acclaim internationally 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.

Concert highlights of recent seasons include Mozart’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Fabio Luisi and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Lieberson’s Neruda Songs with the Concertgebouworkest under the baton of Stéphane Denève, a program of Berio and Crumb with the New York Philharmonic, and Korngold’s Abschiedslieder with Sir Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

Past performances also include Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder with Matthias Pintscher and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Bernstein’s Songfest for her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut under the baton of the late Bramwell Tovey, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, Mahler’s Des knaben Wunderhorn with Krzysztof Urbański and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Das Lied von der Erde with the symphonies of St. Louis, Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, and Glasgow among many others. She has given Ravel’s Shéhérazade with Gemma New and the San Francisco Symphony as well as with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, Berio’s Folk Songs with Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra, and bowed as Erda in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert.

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.

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 recording catalogue 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.