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Richard A. Kelley joined the faculty of Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2022 and is a professor of trumpet. A Grammy-nominated trumpeter, Kelley has built a formidable track record, working at the highest level of the profession. He performs regularly with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Boston Philharmonic, and other surrounding orchestras. Previously based in New York City, Kelley was principal trumpet of the Queens Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Virtuosi. He also performed regularly with the Metropolitan Opera, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the New York Pops, and many other orchestral ensembles. From 1987 to 1994, he was a member of the groundbreaking Meridian Arts Ensemble—the first brass quintet ever to win the prestigious Concert Artists Guild competition. He continued to stretch the boundaries of brass solo and chamber music as a member of Boston Brass from 1997 to 2005, as well as premiering and recording trumpet solos by Daniel Pinkham and Richard J. Clark and a concerto for two trumpets by Stephen Paulus.
Kelley was born and raised in Boston, graduating from Boston Latin High School. At age 16, he was featured as a soloist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and was engaged for repeat appearances with both the BSO and the Boston Pops. Those performances served to establish Kelley’s relationship with Charles Schlueter, the principal trumpet of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with whom he studied for the remainder of his high school years. He continued his education at the Juilliard School in New York City as a student of Mark Gould, co-principal trumpeter of the Metropolitan Opera. A passionate believer in the power of musical education, Kelley taught for two years in Juilliard’s Music Advancement Program for inner city youth and continues to pass along his knowledge and love of music as an adjunct professor in the Prep Division of New England Conservatory.
During a flourishing orchestral and chamber music career, Kelley has capitalized on his ability to swiftly and fluently traverse different stylistic genres to become a force in the studio arena. His work can be heard on a wide variety of recordings, from national commercials for Dr. Pepper and IBM to the Oscar and Golden Globe-winning soundtrack to Disney’s Pocahontas. He also has collaborated with Andrea Bocelli, Yo-Yo Ma, Ray Charles, James Taylor, Seth MacFarlane, the rock band Boston, Jimmy Page and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, award-winning composers John Williams and Danny Elfman, and more.
Kelley also has performed with several jazz and funk bands and musicians, including trumpeter Lew Soloff of Blood, Sweat & Tears; and he has been heard in countless Broadway performances, including productions of Aladdin, An American in Paris, Cats, Les Misérables, Annie, Show Boat, Crazy for You, West Side Story, and many others.