Karin Kelleher has been a professional violinist her entire career, playing in major orchestras, while also serving as Concertmaster and Principal Second Violin in regional symphonies. She has played with the Milwaukee Symphony, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Elgin Symphony, and Sinfonia da Camera at the University of Illinois, and began her career as a core violinist in the Knoxville Symphony. Karin was concertmaster for the Woodstock Mozart Festival and Racine Symphony, where she was frequently featured as a soloist. She is currently freelancing in the Washington, DC area, performing with the Annapolis and Maryland Symphonies, Washington Concert Opera, National Cathedral Choral Society, and the National Philharmonic, and has performed at the Kennedy Center, National Cathedral, the Music Center at Strathmore, and many other venues. Karin has also collaborated with a wide variety of popular touring bands, including Josh Groban, Barry Manilow, Earth Wind and Fire, Kansas, and Natalie Cole, to name a few. In addition, she is a violinist in the Chamber Dance Project String Quartet, working collaboratively with professional dancers from all over the country to present new dance works.
In 2018, Karin and pianist Sonya Subbayya Sutton launched a charity recital series, performing works by Beethoven, Schumann, Brahms, and Vivaldi. The pair has raised thousands for local charities in the Washington, DC area including A Wider Circle, Music and Memory, and DC Diaper Bank. Performances are in private homes, providing an intimate setting with close interaction between performers and attendees. Karin also regularly gives charity performances in her hometown of Pontiac, IL, benefitting the Livingston County Community Food Bank.
Karin began studying violin at age 10 in suburban Chicago, after years of pleading with her mother and father to allow her to study piano. (They mistakenly believed the violin would be easier on their budget than the piano). Musical sound, rhythm, and harmony were very compelling to the young violinist, and she felt drawn to creating a vibrant tone. When her family moved to rural Pontiac, Illinois, the high school didn’t have an orchestra, so she sang in the choir and played bassoon in the band. Yet Karin's mother drove her 40 miles each week for violin lessons and string quartet rehearsals with Illinois State University professors Art Lewis and Howard Rye. Karin chose to study violin at ISU (and met future husband and collaborator Mike there in music theory class), and later attended graduate school at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
In 2015, Karin and Mike Kelleher released their debut album, Mélange, an independently created, performed and produced recording. Classical and jazz influences come together in Mike's charts to form a unique style that reflects their personal and musical life.