Kevin Kelly was born in the Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts, near the summer home of the Boston Symphony. As a child, he became fascinated by the violin and absorbed many different styles of violin playing. He has been a professional musician and also spent time in his early twenties as a woodworker, building custom homes. Violin making allowed him to combine many otherwise disparate interests: violin music, woodworking, and geometric design. His career has taken him from Boston to San Francisco, to London, and back again, to work and study in some of the finest violin shops in the world. He was a teacher at the North Bennet Street School in Boston before opening his own studio in 2002.
Kelly has conducted extensive research on the original system of design of the violin family, and has presented his research at Violin Society of America conventions and at the Oberlin Violin Makers Workshops, as well as published articles in The Strad. He is currently an advisor at the North Bennet Street School and is a consultant for the Department of Musical Instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, as well as the Fine Musical Instrument division of Skinner Auctioneers.