Cheri Lyon Kelley

Louisville native Cheri Lyon Kelley has been a member of the first violin section of the Louisville Orchestra since 1976 and occupies the Mrs. John H. Clay Chair. She is a second-generation Louisville Orchestra member, her father Ernest E. Lyon having been the principal trombonist for 10 years. Her violin studies have included work with Paul Kling at the University of Louisville, Phillip Ruder, former concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ivan Galamian at Meadowmount, chamber music study with the Tokyo String Quartet and Raphael Hillyer at Yale in Norfolk, and Roman Totenberg at Tanglewood. While at Tanglewood she was awarded the Outstanding Musician Award of the Young Artist Instrumental Program.

Outside of performing, Ms. Kelley’s other passions include cooking, Colonial American history, and work with the children’s music worship at their church St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church. Her favorite violinists are David Oistrakh and Henryk Szeryrig and her favorite composer is J.S. Bach. Ms. Kelley embraces “The challenge and thrill of learning repertory not yet played by me! Violins have a fabulous repertory in all periods of music history. I could never perform or learn it all!” Her advice for young musicians is to “Only major in music if you understand what it means — ‘I have to do this’- there is too much sacrifice and such a great need for an ongoing disciplined life of practice to not feel the need to do this from deep within.”