Kelly McElrath Vaneman

Mary Babcock Reynolds Professor of Oboe and Music History

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Kelly McElrath Vaneman teaches both oboe lessons and music history & culture classes in the Petrie School of Music at Converse. Her classes are energetic and exciting and ask students to actively participate—they write their own Gregorian chants, sing the Blues, and join her in Bollywood dance tutorials—and her oboe studio is characterized by both musical creativity and supportive encouragement. She is also first-year mentor of all Converse music students and works with each of them to find the best pathway to begin their journey as professional musicians. In 2016 she was awarded Converse’s Kathryn Amelia Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2019 she received the Above and Beyond Award for her work as student mentor and advisor.

Dr. Vaneman’s exciting performing life extends across multiple genres and non-traditional venues. With husband Chris Vaneman she is a member of the flute/oboe duo Ensemble Radieuse, a group committed to expanding the repertoire and engaging directly with the audience. They’ve performed and taught on four continents, presented at a wide range of conferences (including those of the International Double Reed Society, the National Flute Association, and the College Music Society), and commissioned and arranged countless works. In addition to the normal concert stage, they’ve performed in such places as Spartanburg’s Ciclops Cyderi, La Quinta Mazatlan Bird Sanctuary in South Texas, and the Transfiguration Preserve in Bat Cave, NC. The two are also members of the Petrie Winds, Converse’s faculty wind quintet. Dr. Vaneman is principal oboist with both the Spartanburg Philharmonic and the Hendersonville Symphony. Her work as a soloist has included yearly themed faculty recitals, improvised underscoring for Theatre Converse productions, performing on period instruments, and jamming with rock bands at New York’s famed punk club CBGBs.

She is twice Past President of the Rho chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, has served on the board of the International Alliance for Women in Music as secretary and membership chair, and a is a member of Alpha Chi. She has written for The Double Reed, the journal of the International Double Reed Society. Her innovative compositions and arrangements are published by Trevco Music and St. James Press. Dr. Vaneman holds DMA, MMA, and MM degrees from Yale University, received her BMus summa cum laude from Baylor University, and studied modern and Baroque oboe at the Koninklijk Konservatorium Brussel under a grant from the Belgian American Educational Foundation.