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Anthony M. Kelley

Duke University

Professor of the Practice in the Department of Music at Duke University, Anthony Kelley joined the Duke faculty in 2000 after serving as Composer-in-Residence with the Richmond Symphony for three years under a grant from Meet the Composer, Inc. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Duke University, and he earned a Ph.D. in Musical Composition from the University of California at Berkeley.

In 2021, Kelley was appointed as Composer in Residence for the North Carolina Symphony. His major works for symphony orchestra include: Spirituals of Liberation (commissioned and  premiered in 2022 by the North Carolina Symphony, with Evan Feldman and Michelle Di Russo, conducting); the piano concerto, Africamerica (premiered in 1999, by the Richmond Symphony with piano soloist, Donal Fox and George Manahan, conducting); and The Breaks (commissioned and premiered in 1998 by The American Composers Orchestra under the direction of Gerard Schwartz). The Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, Oakland East Bay, Marin (CA) and San Antonio symphony orchestras have also performed Kelley’s symphonic music.
Among his awards and honors are the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters, and composition fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation.  Some of his other work includes his soundtracks to the H. Lee Waters/Tom Whiteside film, Conjuring Bearden, (2006), and Dante James’s film, The Doll (2007), explores music as linked with other media, arts, and sociological phenomena. A recording of Kelley’s work, Grist for the Mill (commissioned by the Mallarme Chamber Players), was released in August, 2009 and is available for purchase on iTunes.

He co-directs (with clarinetist Nicholas Lewis) and performs in the improvisational Postmodern blues quartet called the BLAK New Blues Ensemble.

Through a grant by the Mellon Foundation and Duke’s Humanities Unbounded program, Kelley served (with colleague Prof. Thomas Brothers) as the co-convener of the humanities lab, “Black Music and the Soul of America,” dedicated to the study, pedagogy, and promotion of ideas around the performance and rhetoric of Black American music. In 2011, Kelley was presented with Duke University’s Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Bio updated Jan 2024