Jean Kelly hails from an Irish family of several generations of professional musicians. Jean studied Irish harp and concert harp with Bonnie Shaljean at Cork School of Music, and with Aileen McArdle at Limerick School of Music. Jean won a scholarship to study harp at the Royal College of Music, London. Since graduating she has based herself in London and is in great demand as a versatile harpist, with an eclectic career ranging from Early Music to Contemporary Classical and Folk Music.
She has recorded three CDs with the Locrian Ensemble, including Handel Harp Concerto and Mozart Flute and harp Concerto. A CD of Chamber Music by Richard Arnell was Editor’s Choice in Gramophone magazine. She has also recorded for the Guild and Stockfisch labels.
Jean performs on commercial film and TV soundtracks, for composers such as Jonny Greenwood, Max Richter and Dario Marianelli. She played solo harp on Michael Kiwanuka’s Mercury Prize-winning album.
Jean regularly performs with the Guy Barker Big Band, at major UK venues including The Proms at The Albert Hall and toured alongside the band with pop singer Paloma Faith. She is a frequent guest with the BBC Concert Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (UK) and Irish Chamber Orchestra.
Jean is a member of ‘The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments’ performing 16th Century music on Triple Harp, alongside PRS funded newly commissioned pieces with electronics.
Recent performances include a performance by Jean and her sister, Fiona Kelly, of Mozart – Flute and Harp Concerto at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields church, and the German Premiere of a concerto for Scottish fiddle and harp by Sally Beamish with Göttingen Symphony Orchestra.