Violist to orchestra president and CEO: National Philharmonic’s Jim Kelly

Posted on: May 11, 2022

“Musically, the viola tends to play a collaborative and supportive role in an orchestra…. It’s a role that violist Jim Kelly, president and CEO of the National Philharmonic, is happy to play,” writes Rudi Greenberg in Monday’s (5/9) Washington Post. “Kelly says of violists, … ‘There are a lot of us in arts management because we work well as a team.’ Kelly, 45, embraced that role in 2019…. He’s … had to weather a pandemic while trying to embrace social issues and reach younger and more diverse audiences. ‘I’m trying to dismantle how classical music is just for the elite,’ … Kelly says. ‘It’s about presenting new works with old. It’s about representing women composers and BIPOC composers. It’s about representing new and upcoming artists and also artists that are from our area.’ … He picked up a job at Potter Violins in 2004. Kelly is now co-owner of the music shop, which moved from Bethesda to Takoma Park [Maryland] in 2015. ‘My life revolves around music, and it seems like the perfect life for me because I never feel like I’m working,’ Kelly says.”