Get to Know DCYOP – Keith Kelsey

For the last three years, flutist Keith Kelsey has played a pivotal role at DCYOP as both a teaching artist and the conductor of our Premiere Winds ensemble. Keith is an incredibly versatile artist, having also spent the last 8 years performing with the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band as both a piccolo player and Drum Major. He is also a devoted educator who is truly passionate about helping young musicians discover and nurture their love of music.


Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan.

How did you get started on your instrument?
While flute is my primary instrument, I actually started off playing the clarinet in 5th grade band. When I was in middle school, I found a flute in my grandfather’s house. The flute belonged to my aunt when she was a little girl. I taught myself how to play it. I eventually switched and played the flute in my middle school band because I thought that had all of the fun parts in the music :)

Did you always want to become a professional musician? What was your path (did you play in youth orchestra growing up, study music in college, have you pursued other careers, etc.)?
I always knew I wanted to be a professional musician growing up. I had a “calling” during my senior year of high school to become a music teacher, so that’s what I did! I went to Western Michigan University for my undergrad studies and earned a degree in Secondary Music Education.

How long have you taught at DCYOP and what is one of your favorite memories? 
I’ve taught at DCYOP for 3 years already and my favorite memory so far was conducting the Premiere Winds ensemble during the spring 2023 concert. The music that was programmed during that cycle was difficult and I was so proud to see their hard work paying off!

What do you like most about teaching?
What I love most about teaching is seeing the growth in my students.

Do you do perform/teach outside of DCYOP?

 I teach middle school band for Baltimore County Public Schools and perform with the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band.

Who is one of your favorite performers? Why?
One of my favorite performers is Beyoncé. I’ve been a fan since I was 7 years old. It has been such a joy watching her grow into the artist she is today. She is one of my favorite performers because I enjoy her voice and she is a great dancer. She’s a performer of many talents!

What is one of your favorite pieces of music? Why?
One of my favorite pieces of music is “Carmen Fantasy for Flute & Piano” by François Borne. There is a lot of nostalgia for me behind that piece. I performed it for my undergrad senior recital. I remember working so hard to learn the piece. It is a difficult piece and I was so proud of myself for being able to perform it well! It is an 11 minute piece that takes you through the opera Carmen by Georges Bizet, so its enjoyable for listeners as well.

What are your interests outside of music? 
Outside of music, I enjoy exercising and reading.

Where is your favorite place to go for fun or what is your favorite thing to do in DC?
In DC, I love going to the museums and trying new restaurants. There is so much to do and see, and I often still feel like a tourist.


Winter 2023 Concerts are Here!

It’s time for DCYOP’s winter concerts! Here’s what you need to know:

Saturday, December 16th – 1:00 PM
Performances by Debut Orchestra, Concertino, and Sinfonia
View Concert Program

Saturday, December 16th – 4:00 PM
Performances by Premier Winds, Wind Ensemble, and Young Artists Orchestra
View Concert Program

Sunday, December 17th – 1:00 PM
Performances by Repertory Orchestra, Youth Philharmonic, and Young Virtuosi
View Concert Program

Sunday, December 17th – 4:00 PM
Performances by the Youth Orchestra
View Concert Program

All concerts will take place at the UDC Theater of the Arts, located near the intersection of Connecticut Ave NW and Windom Place NW on the UDC campus. Concerts are free and open to the public.