“My time as a violinist, first as a child, and now as a teacher, and mother has given me invaluable experience that cannot be paralleled in any other endeavor. Through the discipline of learning an instrument in such warm environments, I learned how to take life’s challenges and grow through them in a way that is meaningful and impactful. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with students and parents from a variety of backgrounds and stages of life in this noble cause of raising children who become thoughtful, capable individuals who can appreciate and contribute to the beauty of our world.” – Kirby Kay
Kirby co-founded West County Strings with her husband, Brad, in 2013 where they enjoy a thriving Suzuki program with violin and viola students. Her students have held leadership positions in the St. Louis Youth Orchestra, Missouri All-State Orchestra and School Honors programs. Her students have soloed with the St. Charles Symphony and regularly hold community outreach concerts.
Kirby teaches at the Sprunger Violin Camp, Colorado Suzuki Institute, Southern Illinois Edwardsville Suzuki Workshop and Strings Camp, as well as the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory’s Chicago Chamber Music Workshop and Young Musicians Camp.
Kirby has been a recurring featured soloist with the Town and Country Symphony, St. Charles Symphony, and the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra. In addition, she has also been an avid chamber and orchestral musician.
She was on faculty with the St. Louis School of Music from 2008-2013. During her time there, she taught private and group lessons and music mind games theory classes, as well as fiddle class and studio class. In 2010, Kirby founded the St. Louis School of Music Tour Group and served as the group’s director.
Kirby graduated in 2008 from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and has continued her studies with long term and short term Suzuki Training with such teachers as Alice Joy Lewis, Vera McCoy-Sulentic, Doris Preucil, Edmund Sprunger, Carol Dallinger and Nancy Jackson. Kirby also enjoys furthering her professional development through workshops and other educational opportunities whenever possible.
During Kirby’s time as a student at the University of Illinois, she was the youngest winner of the University of Illinois Concerto Competition String Division, and a winner of both the Rolland Violin Competition and the Armstrong Competition. Her violin teachers have included members of the Pacifica Quartet, Mark Zinger, and Gene Purdue. She have also had several opportunities to work with other outstanding musicians and teachers such as Rachel Barton-Pine, Almita Vamos, Ilya Kaler, Stefan Milenkovich, Jacques Israliavich, members of the Vermeer Quartet, the Autobaun Quartet, Carol Dallinger, Alice Joy Lewis, and Vera McCoy-Sulentic. Her teaching perspectives have also been enriched thanks to opportunities she has had to take several international orchestra tours to such places as Scotland, Vienna, China, and Korea.