About Kirin


Photo by Lydia Hudgens

Perhaps the only cellist to have ridden a bicycle across the continental United States, Kirin McElwain has a knack for finding cellos to practice on in the unlikeliest of geographic locations. That said, she is still on the lookout for a travel cello that capable of being strapped to the back of her bicycle.

Kirin has shared the stage with with pianist Judith Gordon, John Vanderslice, Boyz II Men, tune-yards, and Vulfpeck. She was the cellist for the world premiere of the ballet “Almost Morning” with original score by Jeff Beal (House of Cards) at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater with the Claudia Schreier Dance Company. Since June 2015, she has been the cellist for the string-powered indie rock band Miracles of Modern Science, with whom she has toured the United States, Canada, and Sweden, and has been named a member of the 2016 YouTube Music Foundry. Kirin has been featured on Indiana Public Radio, the University of Rochester’s WRUR, Portland’s XRAYfm, and UC Berkley’s KALX.

Passionate about performing the music of our time, Kirin seeks to engage herself and her audience in conversation about power and equality in music through the performance of new work. Her current focus is power : capacity : agency, a multi-year commissioning and performance project. In 2017 Kirin will be commissioning and performing new works from Juri Seo (Princeton University), Elisabet Curbelo-Gonzalez (San Diego), and Jenny Beck (Princeton University).

Kirin was the prizewinner in the 2006 Smith Concerto Competition, the 2009 Commencement Concerto Competition, and received the Susan Rose Fellowship for Music Study in 2007 and in 2009. Festivals Kirin has participated in include SICPP, the Lake George Music Festival, Music from Salem, and the Encore School for Strings.

Kirin holds a degree in Economics from Smith College and a Master of Music degree from Temple University. Her principal teachers include Kathryn Armour, Orlando Cole, and Jeffrey Solow. She is also a certified Alexander Technique teacher and regularly teaches classes and workshops in the New York area. She and her cello can often be found riding CitiBike on the Manhattan Bridge Bicycle Path.