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John-Edward Kelly

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John-Edward Kelly
J. E. Kelly (r.) with K. Meyer after the first performance of his concerto, January 1994
Born(1958-10-07)October 7, 1958
DiedFebruary 12, 2015(2015-02-12) (aged 56)
  • Saxophonist
  • Conductor
Years active1981–2015
  • Arcos Orchestra
  • Raschèr Saxophone Quartet
  • Alloys Ensemble
  • The Kelly Quartet

John-Edward Kelly (October 7, 1958 – February 12, 2015) was an American conductor and saxophonist.

Early life[edit]

Born in Fairfield, California, Kelly began music studies in Belleville, Illinois studying clarinet, saxophone, flute and voice.

Kelly focused on his passion for the saxophone as he began formal music studies at Florida State University's College of Music. He desired to resurrect the original tone and range of the saxophone as intended by its inventor, Adolphe Sax. His teachers included Sigurd Raschèr. After Florida State, He had a 30-year international career as a classical saxophonist.


He lectured and served as a guest professor in such cities as London, The Hague, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Helsinki, Rochester, Stuttgart, Lyon, and Oslo. He published articles on aesthetics, contemporary music and the saxophone, including a pamphlet titled "The Acoustics of the Saxophone from a Phenomenological Perspective". He also gave a series of lectures titled 'The Art of Listening'.

Kelly gave the first performances of more than 200 works for saxophone, including 30 concertos for saxophone and orchestra. His performing repertoire consisted primarily of works written expressly for him. In 1995 he played the world premiere of Dimitri Terzakis's saxophone concerto, which was broadcast live to 27 nations. Other composers who have written works for Kelly include: Samuel Adler, Kalevi Aho, Osvaldas Balakauskas, Jürg Baur, Erik Bergman, David Blake, John Boda, Thomas Böttger, Herbert Callhoff, Michael Denhoff, Violeta Dinescu, Brian Elias, Anders Eliasson, Werner Wolf Glaser, Sampo Haapamäki, Ingvar Karkoff, Maurice Karkoff, Tristan Keuris, Hans Kox, Nicola LeFanu, Otmar Mácha, Tera de Marez-Oyens, Miklós Maros, Gérard Masson, Roland Leistner-Mayer, Krzysztof Meyer, Gráinne Mulvey, Pehr-Henrik Nordgren, Enrique Raxach, Uros Rojko, Jan Sandström, Sven-David Sandström, Leif Segerstam, Manfred Stahnke, Dimitri Terzakis, Stefan Thomas, Friedrich Voss, and Iannis Xenakis.

Personal life[edit]

Kelly met his wife Kristin, a physician, at a concert in Germany. The couple married in 2003. They had 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter. He was a licensed airplane pilot and flight instructor.

Selected discography[edit]


  1. ^ Michelle Genz (2015-02-28). "John-Edward Kelly: Acclaimed Vero musician dead at 56". Vero Beach News. Archived from the original on 2016-05-17. Retrieved 2015-06-24.
  2. ^ Guy Rickards (June 2013). "Swedish Concertos for Saxophone". Gramophone. Retrieved 2015-06-24.

External links[edit]