Kevin Harrell studied the violin with Jill Thoday at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He started teaching in 1980, and teaching posts included Newcastle High School for girls and Durham school for boys. During this time he also worked as a freelance musician in the UK and in Germany and played a lot of chamber music, mostly string quartets. In 1986 he joined the Ulster orchestra and a year later started teaching at the Ulster College of Music. He also teaches in other schools and still plays chamber music whenever his busy schedule in the orchestra allows.