Music Director: Kim Allen Kluge

Kim Allen Kluge brings an epic sense of drama to his music-making, from composing to the podium, and has been praised by The Washington Post: “Maestro Kluge is a brilliant composer, conductor and visionary of our time. Epic performance!” Distinguished by his powerful music-making and its dramatic impact, he has been likened to the great poetic musicians of our time. “Kluge’s sense of drama was evident…relentless pressure I associate with Arturo Toscanini,” hails The Washington Post. The Alexandria Journal has lauded Mr. Kluge’s passionate style, commenting, “In its power, Kluge’s performance bore the hallmarks of the work of such mesmerizing artists as Artur Nikisch and…Leonard Bernstein.”

In 2012-2013, Maestro Kluge celebrated 25 years as Music Director of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. During that season, Maestro Kluge led a historic performance at the National Gallery of Art in honor of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The Washington Post raved about this performance, noting, “Kluge is superb at high-voltage works like this—if you haven’t heard him conduct, you’re missing a great musical experience—and turned in a taut, visceral reading, perhaps the most exciting heard here in years.”

Maestro Kluge is a Valedictorian of Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he served as Concertmaster of the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra and received the coveted Arthur Dann Award for Outstanding Pianist and the Pi Kappa Lamda Scholarship for Musical Excellence. Maestro Kluge pursued two doctorates in Music from the University of Maryland and received a Conducting Diploma from the Academia Musicale Chigiana in Siena where he studied with Valery Gergiev. He participated in the prestigious Tanglewood Music Center Program where he was a protégé of Seiji Ozawa, Roger Norrington and Sir Simon Rattle. In 2006, he garnered the Wammie Award for Best Conductor presented by the Washington Area Music Awards. Maestro Kluge has appeared as guest conductor with the Sinfonietta de Paris, Les Solistes Parisiens, the Mannheim Chamber Orchestra, the Boston Pops Orchestra, the Seoul Philharmonic, the Baltimore Lyric Opera and the Kennedy Center National Opera Orchestra. In 1997 Kluge co-founded Capital City Opera which partnered and presented with regional theater companies, George Mason Center for the Arts, The Washington Performing Arts Society and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

A passionate advocate for music and arts education, Maestro Kluge believes education should be integrated into every concert experience regardless of format or audience demographic. Immediately upon his appointment as ASO Music Director, Kluge instituted a comprehensive year-round inter-curricular music program that included ensemble and full orchestra experiences for public and private schools. In 2003, Maestro Kluge founded the Children’s Arts Festival. He has developed mentoring programs and side-by-side concerts—pairing aspiring young musicians with ASO professionals. This season, he will work closely with many of Alexandria’s music students through ASO Sympatico (education program at John Adams Elementary) as well as offering composition instruction, master classes, workshops, and mentoring. The Alexandria Symphony Orchestra has honored Maestro Kluge’s commitment to arts education by instituting the Kluge Young Composer Competition.

Maestro Kluge composes for a wide range of clients ranging from Academy Award-winning producers to The National Gallery of Art. He composes with his wife Kathryn for music icons ranging from pop stars to jazz legend, Branford Marsalis (Vocalise, a concerto) and classical virtuoso, Midori (Meibuki, a concerto written for the violinist’s Orchestra Residencies Program with the ASO in 2012).

In 2012 The Kennedy Center presented the Kluge’s Haiku Suite, choreographed and performed by Bowen McCauley Dance. The National Gallery of Art commissioned them to compose and perform film scores for their historic 2012 Alice Guy-Blache Retrospective. In 2013, the Kluges were commissioned to write River Poem for orchestra, chorus and bells, in dedication to the City of Alexandria. The Kluges composed and Maestro Kluge performed Rhapsody for Lily for orchestra and piano in 2014, which was dedicated to the Kluge’s newborn daughter.

The husband and wife team continue to write scores for film and live performance. This season their work ranges from composing for Academy Award-winning producers to a commission from the National Gallery of Art that will benefit imprisoned writers throughout the world. They will compose the score for a film version of Eckhart Tolle’s Milton Secret starring Peter Fonda. This season the Kluges will be offering to the ASO the world premiere of their American Concerto for Piano & Orchestra. Repeat performances of The American Concerto for Piano & Orchestra are in high demand and have been slated with orchestras from around the world.

Maestro Kluge’s stature as a composer and conductor is being recognized nationally, as he has recently been named Music Advisor for The Hollywood Film Festival. He produced and moderated a music panel for the Topanga Film Festival in 2014 with film director/producer Alexander Payne. Additionally, Kluge is on the Advisory Board for Digital Hollywood and serves as Music Advisor for CineCause, a global organization dedicated to filmmakers and change agents who want to have a positive social impact on the world.

Hear compositions by Maestro and Kathryn Vassar Kluge at  Maestro Kluge’s creative work derives from his passion and conviction that people of different backgrounds can share the essence of their humanity through artistic expression. The common denominator in all Kim Allen Kluge’s work is his desire to reach audiences in a visceral and thought-provoking manner, often through the juxtaposition of disparate styles or genres.