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Kelly Quesada


Kelly Quesada is a cellist and educator based in Chicago. Active as both an orchestral and chamber musician, she has been playing in professional ensembles for over 10 years. In addition to performing with the Eugene, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa Symphonies, she was also the founding cellist of the Delgani String Quartet based in Eugene, Oregon. Kelly currently serves as principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where she has the pleasure of sharing the stage with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma, Riccardo Muti, and the future leaders of the music world. Kelly is equally dedicated to teaching the next generation of musicians, currently teaching cello and chamber music at South Side Suzuki and beginning strings at Sistema Ravinia.

What is your favorite musical memory? There were a lot of high points I could name, but I think the most important memories I have are with my dad who would take me to youth orchestra rehearsals and lessons every Saturday as a teen.

Why do you think music is important? Music can be so many things for different people, but for me it is primarily a community builder. It can offer healing, celebration, catharsis, expressive purpose, and challenges, all of which bring together listeners and performers alike.

What do you like to do outside of music? Reading, having interesting conversations over a fancy beer, riding my tiny yellow bike, playing backgammon.