Praised by the Cincinnati Enquirer as “a leader of exceptional musical gifts, who has a clear technique on the podium and an impressive rapport with audiences,” Kelly Kuo’s self-effacing, collaborative style along with his fresh approach to programming have been heralded by critics and audiences alike.
Kuo recently extended his contract through 2021 as Artistic Director of Oregon Mozart Players, having “transformed this chamber group into…a band of professional, enthusiastic and superior musicians, playing confidently as one unit” (The Register Guard). A versatile musician with a diverse repertoire, including over 80 operas, he also continues as Music Director and Conductor of the Butler Opera Center at The University of Texas at Austin.
This season Kuo leads performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, and Verdi’s Falstaff at the BOC, makes his conducting debut with the Memphis Symphony, and leads six programs for Oregon Mozart Players. Recent conducting engagements have included Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, Anchorage Opera, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Ballet Fantastique, Kentucky Opera, Lexington Philharmonic, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, concert:nova, the University of Texas New Music Ensemble, and New York Harlem Production’s Porgy and Bess in Hamburg, Munich, and Las Palmas, in addition to having curated and conducted the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s inaugural Summermusik festival as Interim Music Director. He has collaborated with such soloists as Cho-Liang Lin, DaXun Zhang, Mary Dunleavy, Bion Tsang, Anton Nel, Bella Hristova, Elizabeth Rowe, and Stephen Beus. Kuo conducted the world premieres of chamber orchestrations for Jake Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus and Daniel Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini as well as the premiere of Daron Hagen’s A Woman in Morocco.
An Oregon native and recipient of a 2009 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistant Award for young conductors, Kuo continues to concertize as a keyboardist as the only living pianist to have studied with two pupils of the Russian virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz. Upcoming keyboard performances include recitals with Avery Fisher prize-winning clarinetist David Shifrin, Cleveland Orchestra’s principal cellist Mark Kosower, violinist Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, and the Zenith Chamber Music Festival. He holds a master’s degree in piano performance from the Manhattan School of Music and is an alumnus of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.