Named “Best Classical Conductor” by the Nashville Scene, Kelly Corcoran is a passionate advocate for the robust place of classical music in our lives and the lives of future generations. In addition to being a frequent guest conductor with orchestras around the country, Corcoran is Artistic Director of Intersection, a contemporary music ensemble dedicated to partnership, new works, exploration and the expanding role of music in our lives with concerts for all ages. Corcoran was Interim Artistic Advisor of the Lexington Philharmonic (KY) during the pandemic. She conducted the Nashville Symphony for nine seasons, both as Associate Conductor and Director of the Symphony Chorus, where she conducted the orchestra in hundreds of performances and was the primary conductor for the education and community engagement concerts. Corcoran founded the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and continues to serve on the board.
Corcoran has appeared as a guest conductor with many major orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra as well as the Atlanta, Colorado, Charleston, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Knoxville, Memphis, Milwaukee, National and Utah Symphonies, the Naples Philharmonic, and Louisville Orchestra often with return engagements. Abroad, Corcoran has conducted the Orquesta Sinfónica UNCuyo in Mendoza, Argentina, the Bournemouth (UK) Symphony, orchestras in Chile, Germany, Mexico and the Czech Republic and competed in the VIII Cadaqués Orchestra International Conducting Competition in Spain. Interested in many musical styles, Corcoran has worked with a range of artists such as Bela Fleck, Leslie Odom Jr, Brad Paisley, Amy Grant and Chris Botti, and has conducted the film scores to many movies including Psycho and Casablanca in concert. She also serves as a regular conductor with The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour and National Geographic: Symphony for our World. While Director of the Nashville Symphony Chorus, she led the Chorus during its 50th anniversary season and prepared and conducted many choral orchestral masterpieces including an appearance at the Cincinnati May Festival performing Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Originally from Massachusetts and a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus for more than 10 years, Corcoran received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from The Boston Conservatory and her Master of Music in instrumental conducting from Indiana University. She made her professional conducting debut in 2004, conducting the National Symphony Orchestra where she studied with her primary mentor, Leonard Slatkin. Corcoran studied with and shared concerts with Marin Alsop as Honorable Mention for the Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship. She also attended the Lucerne Festival's master class in conducting, focusing on contemporary orchestral literature with Pierre Boulez.
Corcoran cares deeply about equity, our youth and the future of classical music and participated in REAL (Racial Equity in Arts Leadership), Project Music, Leadership Nashville, Restorative Justice & The Arts, and Leadership Music and is an Advisor for Music Makes Us. Corcoran recently completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and joined the team at the Vanderbilt Music Cognition Lab as a Social Scientist engaging in research to understand musicality and how it relates to our health, communication and social engagement. She also serves on the Music Faculty at Middle Tennessee State University and Lipscomb University and is a member of the Health Equity workgroup for the Healthy Nashville Leadership Council.
“If conductor Kelly Corcoran weren't a musician, one imagines she might have become a corporate entrepreneur.” - John Pitcher, Nashville Scene