Musician Kathleen Kelly on Conducting, Accompanying, and Coaching

The accomplished pianist explains the work that goes into making awe-inspiring music.

Illustration depicting a female with a microphone

Listen longer

Slate Plus members get ad-free versions of all Slate podcasts, plus extra segments, bonus episodes, and more. Try it today for just $1.

Join Slate Plus

Episode Notes

This week host June Thomas talks to musician, conductor, and singing coach Kathleen Kelly. In the interview, Kathleen describes her daily musical practices and explains the tricky work of accompanying singers on piano. She also describes the qualities every great conductor needs.

After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about what happens when countries adequately fund the arts.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Kathleen plays one of her favorite piano pieces, and then June and Kathleen try to define “talent.”

Links mentioned in the episode:
Episode of Studio 360 featuring June’s piece about Jamie Barton and Kathleen Kelly’s feminist recital
Episode of Working featuring Jamie Barton

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


About the Show

Slate interviews Americans about their jobs.

All episodes


  • June Thomas is senior managing producer of Slate podcasts.