Conductor and pianist William Kelley is Kapellmeister at Theater Bremen since 2020 where he conducted productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Angels in America (Eötvös), Jenufa, Pagliacci, The Cunning Little Vixen, King Arthur (Purcell), and Hello, Dolly! as well as family and gala concerts with the Bremer Philharmoniker. In 2023, he will make his debut at the Hamburgische Staatsoper with Bizet’s Carmen in a production from Herbert Fritsch and in the 23/24 season, he is scheduled to conduct Adam’s Doctor Atomic, Offenbach’s Orphée aux enfers, and Verdi’s Macbeth in Bremen.
Previously, Kelley held the position of Kapellmeister at Luzerner Theater in Luzern, Switzerland. He made his European conducting debut in 2017 with the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with following productions including the Swiss premiere of Abraham’s Märchen im Grand Hotel, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Carmen.maquia (version for ballet), Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires, a world premiere in the Lucerne Festival: Im Amt für Todesangelegenheiten (2018) with the 21st Century Orchestra, and the 2019 Gübelin Luzerner Sinfonieball.
As a guest conductor, Kelley has appeared with the Prague Radio Symphony, assisted Christopher Franklin with the Czech Philharmonic and Yoel Gamzou in Seven Deaths of Maria Callas with Marina Abramović at Teatro San Carlo. As a pianist, Kelley worked for institutions such as The Juilliard School, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester and with conductors such as James Gaffigan, Edward Gardiner, Fabio Luisi, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Since 2020, he has enjoyed a close collaboration with English composer Iain Bell and gave the world premiere of his melodrama for tenor and piano, Comfort Starving with tenor, Petr Nekoranec and a staged version of the piece later that summer at the Bach Festival Świdnica with director, Krystian Lada. His collaboration with Bell and Lada continued in 2021 with a staged performance of the partner-work to Comfort Starving, The Man With Night Sweats for baritone and piano at the Opera Rara festival in Krakow, Poland.
Previous performance highlights include recitals with tenor, Petr Nekoranec at Staatsoper Stuttgart and the Janacek Festival in Ostrava, Czech Republic, Schubert’s Winterreise with baritone, Christopher Herbert on Trinity Wall Street’s Twelfth Night Festival and the Harvard Club, a residency with the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) at the Caramoor Festival and his Lincoln Center debut with a recital in Alice Tully Hall alongside baritone, Theo Hoffman, which included the New York premiere of Jonathan Dove’s song set, Three Tennyson Songs .
Kelley is a graduate of The Juilliard School and The University of North Carolina Greensboro and was a Vocal Piano Fellow at the Music Academy of the West. He is currently based in Hamburg, Germany.