The most invigorating concerts I have played were with chamber music ensembles whose repertoire included works by contemporary composers. Equally exciting were my collaborations with visual artists, dancers and actors. Each and every performance was a part of my glorious journey into the unnameable power of artistic expression.This journey has especially shaped my work as a music educator.

For many years, I have been fascinated with the origins of creative processes. As a classically-trained violinist the main emphasis of my studies was directed towards the analysis and interpretation of a finished work. However, in my last year at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, I had the opportunity to work intensively with a composition student and it was this experience that opened my eyes and ears to examine the evolution of a musical piece more closely than ever before. With this, and other valuable ear-opening musical experiences, I left for Berlin, Germany. In Berlin, I had the opportunity to learn from and work with the American jazz bassist Jay Oliver and soon after, began collaborating with visual artists, dancers and actors. The interaction with other art forms and media would become, and remains an important facet in my work with my students.

On this website you can learn about my vast experience with interdisciplinary and international youth projects. Most of these projects were carried out in a process-oriented form. I truly believe that this kind of work fosters communication, a sense of community, appreciation, tolerance and respect for other art forms and other cultures – skills that empower young people in an ever-changing world.

„Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.“

— Leonard Bernstein

Training

1971-1975

D.C. Youth Orchestra Program

1975-1978

Duke Ellington School of the Arts
Washington D.C.

1978-1982

Violin studies at the College of Fine Arts at Boston University
with Professor Roger Shermont,
Chamber Music with Eugene Lehner (Kolisch Quartett)

1982

Jazz Improvisation with Jay Oliver
Berlin, Germany

Extended Training

1974

The International Festival of Youth Orchestras in London and Aberdeen, Scotland

1975

Sewanee Summer Music Festival in Sewanee, Tennessee

1977

Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) at Tanglewood

1982

Bavarian Summer Academy of Chamber Music,
Violin Master Class with Denis Zsigmondy

Teaching

Since 1989

Instructor for Violin, Viola and Orchestra at the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg, Germany

1991-1993

Violin Instructor with the Regional Youth Orchestra Hannover, Germany

1991-1992

Instructor for Jazz Violin at the Jazz Workshop Lueneburg, Germany

1998-2006

Violin Instructor at International Orchestra Camp in Luechow, Germany

2000-2022

Conductor of the orchestra "strings!“ at the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg, Germany

2013

Music Instructor at the 1st European-African Youth Academy at the „One World Secondary School Kilimanjaro“ in Kisangara, Tansania

Since 2022

Conductor of the symphony orchestra "Sinfonietta!“ at the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg, Germany

Since 2023

Conductor of the intermediate strings orchestra at the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg, Germany

Selected Freelance Projects

1987-1989

Kathi Kelsh Group (Jazz-Violin / Bandleader)
Berlin, Germany

1988-1989

Jay Oliver Group (Jazz-Violin)
Berlin, Germany

1995

Tour with Ensemble Modern Frankfurt, Germany
Conductor: Péter Eötvös
Concerts in Germany and Italy

1999-2002

Violinist of the contemporary music ensemble Trio99
Piano: Darlén Bakke, Drums and Mallets: Andrea Schneider

2000-2010

Violinist with Mondrian Ensemble Lueneburg, Germany
Concerts in USA, India and Germany

Performance Projects

1992
Blind Date

Performance with the visual artist Baerbel Rothhaar (Berlin)
Berlin, Germany

1994
Ballett Studio

Dance and Choreography: Eva Jazberenyi, Piano: Deborah Coombe, Violin: Kathy Nierenz (aka Kathi Kelsh)
Music: "Fratres" composed by Arvo Pärt
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

1995
Sketches of Glass

Music: Kathy Nierenz (aka Kathi Kelsh)
Visual Art: Bärbel Rothhaar, Cheryl Josher
Theaterdock der Kulturfabrik
Berlin, Germany

2000
geliebte K.

Live painting via Overhead-Projector, Installations: Bärbel Rothhaar, Violin: Kathy Nierenz (aka Kathi Kelsh), Lothar Nierenz, Recitation: Sonja Martin
Umweltbundesamt Berlin, Germany
GEDOK Hannover, Germany

2017
Bewegte Musik

Dance Performance
Dance and Choreography: Helen Hannak, Violin: Kathy Nierenz, Piano: Deborah Coombe and HyeYeon Kim
Piano Church Lueneburg, Germany

Youth Performance Projects

2006
Where are you Going? Steps into the Future

Dance performance project with the UNESCO-Project Schools
Music: Kathy Nierenz (aka Kathi Kelsh), Choreography: Kerstin Kessel
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2007
Where are you Going? Steps into the Future

Dance performance project with the UNESCO-Project Schools
Performance at the UNESCO Headquarters
Paris, France

2009
Bread & Honey

Interdisciplinary Art Project
Idea, Visual Art: Barbel Rothhaar, Music: Kathy Nierenz (aka Kathi Kelsh) and
Boris Bell, Choreography, Dance: Ricarda Schuh,
Text, Installation: Christiane Keppler
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2010
Bread & Honey

Galerie Wedding
Berlin, Germany

This project was awarded the prize in the category "Fine Arts, Architecture and Cultural History" in the nationwide competition "Children to Olympus"

2011
verRückt (Crazy)

Dance performance with the dance class of the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
Music: Anteo Fabris (USA)
String Quintet of the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
Music Instruction: Kathy Nierenz, Live-Painting via Overhead-Projektor: Baerbel Rothhaar, Erdmute Blach,
Choreography and Dance Instruction: Nicola Naedler
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2012
What‘s New?

Dance Performance of the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
with its string orchestra „strings!
Choreography and dance instruction: Nicola Naedler, Viola Solist: Antje Dampel

2015
MOSAIK.odyssey

Interdisciplinary art project with four European Music Schools/Conservatories from Lueneburg/Germany, Cáceres/Spain, Hammarö/Sweden and
Clamart/France
Performance in Lueneburg, Germany

2017
MOSAIK.quijote

(same schools/conservatories as with MOSAIK.odyssey 2015)
Performance in Cáceres, Spain

Projects with Youth Orchestras

2008-2016
Pult an Pult (Shared Stands)

Three orchestra projects with the string orchestra "strings!“ in collaboration with the "Lueneburger Symphoniker"

2012
Neue tun:es // Karya V

Commissioned composition by Dieter Mack (Professor emeritus for composition at the Musikhochschule Luebeck) for the string orchestra "strings!":
The commission was awarded by Musik21 of Lower Saxony, Germany

2012
Orpheus & Eurydike

Opera project in collaboration with Theater Lueneburg, string orchestra "strings!“ and band from the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
Orchestra Coach: Kathy Nierenz , Band Coach: Daniel Stickan,
Choral direction: Anna Schwemmer, Direction: Friedrich von Mansberg
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2013
Julius Caesar

Opera project in collaboration with Theater Lueneburg and students from the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
Orchestra Coach: Kathy Nierenz, Direction: Friedrich von Mansberg
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2018
…and ever so young!

Orchestra concert with "strings!
Script and orchestra direction: Kathy Nierenz, Solo Violinist: Sara Goebel, Recitation: Beate Weidenhammer
Performed at the "Musikwoche Dahlenburg“
Dahlenburg, Germany

2019
Tanzbach l

Dance performance in conjunction with the ultraBach Festival I of the german-based ensemble reflektor
Performed by "strings!"and ensemble reflektor
Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2021
Tanzbach ll

Dance performance in conjunction with the ultraBach Festival Il of the german-based ensemble reflektor
Performed by "strings!" and ensemble reflektor
Theater Lueneburg
Lueneburg, Germany

2021
Expedition

A radio play from and with „strings!
Recorded and mixed in the recording studio of the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg
Workshops and direction: Kathy Nierenz, Sound Engineer: Dirk Dechring

2021
YX//Change

Virtual exchange project with the Music School of the Hanseatic City of Lueneburg and the Conservatorio Oficial de Musica "Hermanos Berzosa“ in Cáceres, Spain
Promoted by Goethe Institut Munich, Germany

2022
Orchestra Tutorials

Digital video project from the string orchestra "strings!“, ensemble reflektor and Professor Thomas Klug / Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen und Academy of the Arts Bremen, Germany
Conception, workshops: ensemble reflektor members
Coordination „strings!“: Kathy Nierenz

Selected Compositions

1985
Mommy I'm Home

Music for the one act play „Mommy, I‘m Home“
Playwright/director Jill Navarre
Open Theater Women‘s Festival
Washington D.C.

1988
Bach Backwards

A variation based on the Presto movement of the Sonata in D minor for solo violin by J.S. Bach
Performed at the Festival for Contemporary Music "The Relative Violin"
Conception and performance: Kathy Nierenz (aka Kathi Kelsh)
Academy of the Arts in Berlin, Germany

2006
Where are you Going? Steps into the Future

Musical score for "Where are you Going? Steps into the Future"
Dance performance project with UNESCO Project Schools

2015
Penelope’s Song

Written for the intercultural performance project MOSAIK.odyssey

2021
"The Mermaid“ – Duo for 2 Violin Students

Composition for "Jugend musiziert" (a Germany-wide competition for young musicians)

2021
Intermezzo for 3 Bows and a Table

Composition for "Jugend musiziert" (a Germany-wide competition for young musicians)