Robert C. Kelly

Selected Alumni Bios

Robert C. Kelly

Robert C. Kelly (M.A. in Percussion Performance, 2006) has an extensive and diverse career as a drummer/percussionist. His musical scope spans the genres of World beat, Orchestral, Latin jazz, Gospel music, improvisations on spoken-word-poetry, modern dance and Pop music.  

Mr. Kelly has received his formal training with Ronald Gould - the Principal Percussionist of the New York City Ballet Orchestra. He received his Bachelor of Music from The Hartt School of Music while studying with Alexander Lepak, and holds a Master of Arts from New York University while studying with Jonathan Haas. Mr. Kelly has also served as Percussion faculty at NYU Steinhardt.  

He has collaborated and performed with a diverse and stellar list of ensembles and musicians: such as the Royal Swedish Ballet, Gil Shaham, Navah Perlman, David Jolley, Eduardus Halim. Conductors Gunther Shuller, Tania Leon, Richard Fletcher, Joseph Church, James Sedares. Prominent choreographers and directors, such as Ann Reinking (of Fosse and Chicago), Michael Grife (of Rent), Baba Chuck Davis, Stanley Berke, actors Blythe Danner, Bill Irwin, Stephen Collins, and Jack Gilpin.  

Worldbeat and ethnic ensembles such as the highly acclaimed Korean percussion ensemble 'Gongmyoung', the ‘All Ways Surprising' ensemble - performing music of Chile - as Mr. Kelly is Asst. Musical Director and percussionist. Doce no Pires, Caciques, Pyramid dance ensemble, Robert Levin's 'the Rhythm Monsters' performing music from Ghana. And also, 'K' ensemble which uniquely and elegantly combines folkloric Japanese music with Jazz idioms - Mr. Kelly is co-founder with Jun Kubo.  

Jazz and Pop personnel - Jerry Dodgeon, Lenny Pickett, Jim Pugh, Hans Glauschwanig, Javier Diez, Calvin Jones, Daniel Sadownick, Ejyp, Vortex, Julie Simon, Mike Richmond, Carol Woods, Marilyn McCoo, and Billy Davis Jr.  

He has World Premiered the chamber work ‘Re-Collections' written by Harold Farberman, commissioned for the Centennial celebration of the Jewish Heritage and Culture Society of New York. And 'The Charm' as timpani soloist and Producer, written by Michael Udow.  

Toured the United States, Canada, Europe and performed in Japan. His Broadway and Off Broadway credits include: 'Les Miserables', 'Ain't Misbehavin', 'Infertility...the Musical That's Hard to Conceive', Duke Ellington 'Song Book', 'Fame', and 'A Good Swift Kick', and many others.   Mr. Kelly has been living and working in South Korea since August of 2008. He has been busy freelancing with the likes of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, Cheonan City Symphony Orchestra, Arco Diabolo Chamber Orchestra (to which he has recently been appointed as Principal timpani/percussion), Tajeon Broadcast Symphony, Jordi Savall & le Concert des Nations, The International Contemporary Music Festival. Invited and featured Artist for the Opening Ceremony of the III Delphic World Games of 2009 held in Jeju Island.

In March of 2009 Mr. Kelly has also been appointed to a Professor position at the prestigious Keimyung University in the Metropolitan City of Daegu, as Head of Percussion and Drumming Studies of the Music Production Department. Rob Kelly has appeared several times on the leading Korean broadcast networks KBS Radio and KBS TV.