Originally from Brooklyn Peter Kelsh is a Manhattan-based composer of tonal, thematic, melodic music who combines both lyrical and dissonant elements in his compositions. Coming late to music he took up the trumpet at age 17 and began piano a couple of years later. He received a BA in English Literature from Brooklyn College (where he spent more time in the piano practice rooms than in the classroom and went on to study music at various schools. At San Francisco State College he studied composition with Wayne Peterson and Henry Onderdonk, later studying privately with Hall Overton in New York City.
Mr. Kelsh has composed in most forms: orchestral, chamber, vocal, dance and solo works. His Serenade for Oboe and Orchestra was recorded by the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra and later played in concert by the Lake Placid Sinfonietta in 2005. His song “When Shall We Set Sail for Happiness?” (from Three Songs on Poems of Jean Garrigue, originally performed by mezzo Angela Brown with piano accompaniment at CAMI Hall) was arranged by the composer for chamber ensemble and was performed at Symphony Space in 2009 by the ensemble Lunatics at Large after which New York Times reviewer Allan Kozinn referred to “ the warm almost mezzo like sound (Katherine Dain –sop.) brought to Peter Kelsh’s appealing, neo-romantic “When Shall We Set Sail for Happiness?” The composer’s second most recent work Saranac Sketches, a suite for violin and viola has been performed at several venues by the Kaganovskiy Duo – violinist Artur Kaganovskiy and his wife violist Eszter Szilvester. In late May of 2017 Mr. Kelsh completed completed a thirteen and a half minute work – Rhapsody for Violin and Orchestra.