Cellist Carlyn Kessler, whose performances have been praised as "stunning" (ClevelandClassical), enjoys a multifaceted career as a performer, educator, and arts administrator. Currently based in San Francisco, Carlyn is a graduate of Cleveland Institute of Music, where she earned her Master of Music degree in Cello Performance and Suzuki Pedagogy and Bachelor of Music as a student of renowned performers and pedagogues Sharon Robinson and Melissa Kraut.
A passionate chamber musician, Carlyn utilizes her love of chamber music through both international and local performances, education, and outreach. She was recently selected to be a Emerging Artist Fellow in Chamber Music Silicon Valley's 2018-2019 season, which will include numerous performances of seasoned and contemporary ensemble works throughout the Bay Area, a tour with contemporary world music ensemble Common Sounds, and summer residency in Tijuana, Mexico. While at CIM, Carlyn was a member of the Advanced Piano Trio Program through which she performed in a weeklong residency with the Chamber Music Society of Detroit with the NOA Trio. Before relocating to San Francisco, Carlyn was a founding member of the Cleveland Cello Quartet, a genre-bending ensemble of CIM graduates, which was an Ensemble-In-Residence at The Music Settlement in Cleveland, OH.
Carlyn has performed throughout the Northeast in venues ranging from Carnegie Hall to the Chautauqua Institution, as well as in Canada and England. She has participated in numerous summer music festivals including Mendocino Music Festival, Chamber Music Academy at Domaine Forget, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Banff Chamber Music Residency, Banff Master Classes and Festival Orchestra where she served as principal cellist, the London Master Classes, Yellow Barn Young Artists Program, Meadowmount School of Music, and Bowdoin International Music Festival. Carlyn has performed in numerous orchestral settings including the Stockton Symphony, Suburban Symphony Orchestra (principal cellist), CityMusic Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Cleveland Opera Theater, CIM Orchestra (served as principal cellist), and Banff Festival Orchestra/Opera Orchestra (served as principal cellist), among others.
Carlyn has recently collaborated and performed with celebrated artists Martin Beaver, Axel Strauss, Pekka Kuusisto, Steven Dann, Ernest Kovacek, Michael Gurevich, and Frank Morelli. She has played in master classes for Joel Krosnik, Philip Setzer, Jaime Laredo, Ani Kavafian, Ralph Kirshbaum, Donald Weilerstein, Gilbert Kalish, Bonnie Hampton, Colin Carr, and Noah Bendix-Balgley, among others. Carlyn has received several awards including the Stamford Symphony Jeniam Foundation Scholarship and Greenwich Symphony Orchestra Guild’s Dorothy Gluckmann Music Award.
An advocate of presenting classical music in nontraditional settings, she performs regularly with Classical Revolution at various San Francisco locales including Yerba Buena Festival, Revolution Cafe, and Monroe, among others. She is a regularly featured studio musician in music videos and albums, ranging from rock band Drenalin to Portuguese Fado singer David Garcia. Carlyn often performs in healthcare settings (formerly a Cleveland Clinic Performing Artist), and she co-founded the Cleveland chapter of the national movement Groupmuse, a web-driven network that organizes informal classical music house concerts.
Devoted to music education and advocacy, Carlyn maintains a private cello studio in San Francisco and serves on the faculty of the Preparatory Music Program at Holy Names University. In Ohio, Carlyn was a faculty member at The College of Wooster and The Music Settlement as Department Head of Strings.
Carlyn currently works in San Francisco on the administrative staff of The Walden School, a nonprofit creative and experiential summer music school and festival. Also an avid writer, Carlyn publishes as a journalist for San Francisco Classical Voice and ClevelandClassical.com.
Carlyn plays on a 2012 cello by William Whedbee.