Melanie Kjellsen

Melanie Kjellsen Headshot


School of Music

Assistant Professor
Visiting Artist
Music Performance
Office Location
Office Number
Rm 29
Office Phone

Melanie Kjellsen, horn, is an orchestral performer, chamber musician, and music educator. Performance opportunities have taken her to Canada, Europe, China, and across the United States where she has appeared in venues including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago’s Symphony Center, and Cleveland’s Severance Hall.

As an orchestral musician, Melanie has appeared with ensembles throughout the country, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Kalamazoo Symphony, South Dakota Symphony, Peoria Symphony, Quad City Symphony, and the Lexington Philharmonic. She has performed under renowned conductors Charles Dutoit, Riccardo Muti, Gerard Schwarz, JoAnn Falletta, and Stéphane Dèneve, among others. For the 2018 season, she performed as Guest Principal Horn with La Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de La República Dominicana in Santo Domingo. She was a member of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, where, in addition to her performance duties, she worked under the mentorship of cellist Yo-Yo Ma to design and implement engagement projects in underserved schools and communities. Melanie has also been a member of Axiom Brass, a Chicago-based quintet dedicated to brass chamber art music. During her time with Axiom, the group commissioned and premiered several new works by composers Augusta Read Thomas, Liduino Pitombeira, David Faleris, Matt Ulery, Ben Hjertmann, and James Stephenson. Additionally, Melanie has participated in premiere performances of new chamber works by composers Douglas Hill and Sara Carina Graef.

In 2023 Melanie will serve as Visiting Assistant Professor of Horn at the University of Kentucky. Previously, she instructed horn at Illinois Wesleyan University. For three summers she served on the faculty of the Luzerne Music Center in New York’s Adirondack Mountains, where she taught horn lessons, coached chamber music, and performed as a member of the Luzerne Chamber Players at the Luzerne Chamber Music Festival. She has been a teaching artist at the People’s Music School in Chicago and taught at numerous institutions throughout the Chicagoland and Central Kentucky areas. Melanie has presented masterclasses at the University of Arkansas, Florida State University, Northern Michigan University, University of Virginia, and Adelphi University.

Melanie holds a Master of Music degree from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University and Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and Bachelor of Music in Music Education degrees from the University of Kentucky. She studied with Gail Williams, Jon Boen, and David Elliott, with additional mentorship from Daniel Gingrich.

Created 08/04/2023
Last Updated 01/22/2024