Perfect Harmony

June 2012

Kelly Corcoran has always been passionate about singing. As a little girl, the Springfield, Mass., native took voice lessons and dreamed of being an opera singer someday. After high school, she studied vocal performance at The Boston Conservatory, where she joined the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, singing alongside the Boston Symphony Orchestra. And that’s when something unexpected happened.

“I was fascinated right away with the art of conducting,” Corcoran says. “It’s a psychological thing in some ways, because you are inspiring these musicians to do their best, to want to play for you, and to want to give. Sometimes you use a gesture, sometimes it’s something that you do with your body, but sometimes it’s something that you do with your spirit. There’s no one thing that works in every situation, and that was very intriguing to me.”

Suddenly, she’d discovered a passion even more intense than the one she’d been cultivating her entire childhood. Today, Corcoran, 34, is the associate conductor for the Nashville Symphony, where she is in her fifth season. She’s guest conducted major orchestras throughout the country and abroad, and critics have described her style as “smooth,” “lively” and “fresh.”

By any measure, it’s clear that Corcoran is succeeding at her chosen profession. But her path to the podium wasn’t necessarily an easy one. In fact, when she decided to pursue conducting — traditionally a male-dominated profession — people questioned her. After all, in addition to being a youthful-looking woman with a sweet demeanor, she was a singer. She hadn’t grown up playing in orchestras. She didn’t even have an instrumental background.

“When you stand up in front of a professional orchestra of 85 people who are all masters of their instrument, and you’re leading them and guiding them, you have to have some kind of understanding of what they do,” she says. “If you aren’t from that background and you haven’t played in orchestras your whole life, it’s more challenging.”

Determined to give it a try, she found a conducting teacher at The Boston Conservatory and began putting together small ensemble performances — offering free food to get students to participate — so she could practice her new trade. Although she was overwhelmed in the beginning, she says her teacher gave her the confidence to continue and taught her some “strong life lessons.”

“He said, ‘No matter what background you come from, there are challenges and benefits,’” she explains. “‘So, instead of wasting energy thinking about what you don’t know or the things that are in your way, do something every day to gain knowledge and insight. If you keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward, you’ll get somewhere.’”

After college, she held jobs in Boston and Miami before heading to Indiana University to receive her Master of Music in Instrumental Conducting. In 2003, she joined her fiancé (and current husband) in Nashville, where she worked for the Nashville Opera and founded the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. A year later, the couple moved to Ohio so she could take the assistant conductor gig with the Canton Symphony Orchestra. When word got out that there was a position available in Nashville, Corcoran was disappointed that she hadn’t been invited to audition. But as fate would have it, a prospective conductor cancelled, and Corcoran got the call to audition about a week before Christmas in 2006. 

Since accepting the position, she’s conducted a variety of programs and served as the primary conductor for the orchestra’s education and community engagement concerts, including the extremely popular Pied Piper Series, Saturday morning performances that are geared toward children. She also conducted the Nashville Symphony’s CD collaboration with Riders In The Sky, Lassoed Live at the Schermerhorn.

And these days, Corcoran has another starring role: mother to 21-month-old daughter Stella. Juggling career and family presents a new challenge each day, especially when husband Josh, who plays with country artist Chris Young, is on tour. But Corcoran approaches the balancing act the same way she tackles everything else.

“I try to say, ‘One thing at a time,’ and let go of what I can’t control,” she explains, adding that she’s an avid runner, which helps manage her stress. “I focus on what I’m doing, and stay in the moment, so I can give my best to everything.”

You can see Kelly conduct this summer at the Nashville Symphony’s Community Concerts Series, a free, family-friendly series that brings the orchestra to local parks. Corcoran is scheduled to take the podium on June 7 at East Park, June 8 at the Bicentennial State Mall, June 10 at Crockett Park in Brentwood, June 12 at Cumberland University in Lebanon, and June 19 at Centennial Park. For more information on these and other performances, visit

Photo by Michael W. Bunch


emmahoney's picture

I really love information what you have to offer here. So much  that i deal with too here. This is why i like it.642-618 // N10-005

gerald harrington's picture

Good article. This will help to use it to learn and continue to maintain such a good job, of course, and I'm looking forward to see more of your articles. perruques pas cher Perucken cheveux courts

Cisco Career Certifications are IT Professional certifications for Cisco Systems products.The five levels of certification are: Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect along with targeted certifications for Specialist and Technician. cisco certification

cherrin's picture

Your article is full of colourfull information. I appreciate it very much. BTW, I think maybe I can share mines with you.
mini keyboard

suzain66's picture

Entry, Associate, Professional, Expert, and Architect along with targeted certifications for Specialist and Technician.
writing a statement of interest

sharon199's picture

Everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues. It contains truly information. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing.
phd thesis proposal

dollyjee's picture

The economy is recovering so there should be great changes in the job sector too.I am writing a research paper and collecting information on this topic. american debt consolidation

Cool article it's really. Friend on mine has long been awaiting just for this content.
free credit reports from all 3 bureaus

Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much.
Air Cleaner Singapore

roger1122's picture

This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Thanks for sharing it..
Relationships by Litong 2008

jimy5500's picture

Thank you again for all the knowledge u distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards,
trick photography and special effects

roger1122's picture

Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much.

jimy5500's picture

Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article.
express übersetzung

zion1122's picture

Thanks you very much for sharing these links. Will definitely check this out..
créer Serveur minecraft

roger1122's picture

Thank you for helping people get the information they need. Great stuff as usual. Keep up the great work!!!
how to hack a Facebook account

hi was just seeing if you minded a comment. i like your website and the thme you picked is super. I will be back.
carte playstation network

peterparker's picture

I used to read Katie Porterfield posts. I have to say, she really nailed this one. She really inspired other women around her, which is a very good thing to do. Good post by the way. Keep posting stories like this. You never know where it will be printed! May be in The Telegram!
Outlook address book

jimy5500's picture

Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you.
garden buildings UK | sodo namukai

ronan1122's picture

Very nice article, I enjoyed reading your post, very nice share, I want to twit this to my followers. Thanks!.
Relationship with Symeons Greek Restaurant

jimy5500's picture

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
Android Developer in Pakistan

zane1122's picture

Your website is really cool and this is a great inspiring article. Thank you so much. what does bubblegum casting do

zane1122's picture

We’re glad to become visitor on this pure site, regards in this rare info!
creer serveur minecraft

zane1122's picture

Interesting post. I Have Been wondering about this issue, so thanks for posting. Pretty cool post.It 's really very nice and Useful post.Thanks
bubblegum casting

Her Well Being: Stories of Health, Survival, and Livin' It Up Her Style

Going Natural

Nikki Ringenberg does not like needles. As in seriously doesn’t like them — so intensely, she explains, that when she got pregnant last year, she decided to deliver naturally.

To read this and other Her Well-Being stories, click here.

Real Estate: Home Video Tours
Searching for a new home? Her Nashville is excited to partner with, offering buyers easy-to-view video tours of Middle Tennessee's hottest homes.

388 Grovehurst Ln, Brentwood TN 37
Price: $1,185,000
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 5/5

324 Telluride Ln, Murfreesboro TN 37
Price: $0
Bedrooms/Bathrooms: 0/0

View More Homes

Mailing list sign-up

Copyright © 2009 Her Nashville