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Press Release


Jean Oelrich
Director of Communications
(714) 876-2380

Pacific Symphony Renews Contract With Popular Assistant Conductor Roger Kalia For Two More Years

Orange County, Calif. — May 10, 2017

Pacific Symphony has extended the contract of its assistant conductor, Roger Kalia, for two additional years, providing for him to continue in his current role through June 2019. It’s been two years since the Symphony first announced Kalia as its second in command (under Music Director Carl St.Clair), with his position beginning at the start of the 2015-16 season. In addition to assisting St.Clair with conducting duties, Kalia has played—and will continue to play—a vital role in the Symphony’s education initiatives. These include programming and conducting the Farmers & Merchants Bank Family Musical Mornings series, which introduces children ages 5-11 (and beyond) to the exciting world of orchestral music through engaging and educational concerts.

“I am absolutely thrilled to continue my work as assistant conductor with Pacific Symphony for the next two years,” says Kalia. “Working with Maestro St.Clair, the staff and the wonderful musicians has been inspiring and memorable. I have already had the privilege of meeting and working with incredible people across Orange County, and I’m looking forward to being part of the many exciting future concerts and projects. Just having this opportunity is extraordinary—and a big deal! I am so grateful for being part of this very special organization.”  

“Roger has made a tremendous musical contribution to Pacific Symphony,” says Maestro St.Clair. “In very short order, he gained the respect of the musicians and also the staff with whom he works so very closely. Offering Roger a two-year extension will give all of us some important stability for the near future. He is most deserving!”

Kalia will also continue in his role as music director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra (PSYO), a premier training orchestra for instrumentalists in grades 9-12, preparing them for a three-concert series each season. Among his many accomplishments with the Symphony thus far, Kalia led the youth orchestra on its highly successful 10-day international tour to China in June 2016. Kalia remarks: “I will never forget the Youth Orchestra’s China tour last summer, which marked the orchestra’s second international tour and first to Asia. I am beyond thrilled to continue my work with the wonderful young musicians of PSYO, as we reach for new heights as an orchestra over these next two years.”

“Roger is doing a wonderful job with our PSYO,” says St.Clair. “He keenly understands his role in helping these young and very talented musicians mature and develop. He shares his love and passion for music with them, inspiring and motivating them beyond their years.”

Additionally, Kalia’s duties will include welcoming more than 12,000 elementary school children to the concert hall at the end of each of the next two school years for the Class Act Youth Concerts, which annually conclude a year of music lessons and performances in Orange County schools given by Symphony musicians.

“One of the most enjoyable and important aspects of my job has been connecting with our younger audiences through the Family Musical Mornings and Class Act Youth concerts,” says Kalia. “Having the opportunity to expose and introduce them to Pacific Symphony and orchestral music has been extremely rewarding for me as a conductor. I always enjoy meeting these wonderful young people and their parents in the lobby and seeing the joy and excitement on their faces after our concerts.”

With the end of the Symphony’s 2016-17 season concluding in June, Kalia can next be seen on the stage of the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in October 2017, when he will lead the annual Halloween Family Musical Mornings concert.

“As with all of our previous assistant conductors, I have been of the same thinking—one year at a time, but not more than four years in this post,” notes St.Clair. “Having been an assistant conductor of the Boston Symphony, my goal is to treat our assistant conductors as I was groomed and mentored. I try to make sure and create an environment in which they can continue to grow and develop as musicians, conductors and future music directors. Roger embraces all of his opportunities and makes the most out of them. Everyone is a winner!”

Though only 30 years old when he first arrived in Orange County, Kalia brought with him a great deal of experience as a conductor and educator, having served as Charlotte Symphony’s assistant conductor since September 2013. The maestro led a variety of performances for the Charlotte Symphony including the family, education, outreach and parks concerts, and he also collaborated frequently with the Charlotte Ballet. He’s been praised for conducting with “vigor” and “commitment” (Charlotte Observer) and for bringing a “fresh view to classical music” (The Republic). Kalia also completed three years as music director of the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Orchestra in Los Angeles. Winner of YMF’s 2012 National Conductor Search, Kalia follows in the footsteps of such illustrious conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas, André Previn and Myung-Whun Chung.

Kalia has proven to be a prolific leader in the music world through his appearances with orchestras across North America and Europe, as well as his innovative programming choices. Highlights from his time with YMF Debut Orchestra include a production of Stravinsky’s “The Soldier’s Tale” with actors Jack Black and Michael Lerner at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a unique concert titled “Gamer Jams: Music Behind the Screen” featuring music by leading video game composers at the Ford Theater, and the orchestra’s debut performance at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels “Virgin of Guadalupe” Celebration, which was televised and streamed worldwide.

He has worked with many famous composers, commissioning and programming more than 100 works as an advocate for contemporary classical music. This fascination for the advancement of music in today’s world along with the reverence for the old masterpieces is expressed in Kalia’s co-founding and music directorship of the Lake George Music Festival in New York, which serves as a meeting point for composers and musicians from across the nation. Kalia’s many praiseworthy experiences are further bolstered by his acceptance of the BMI/Lionel Newman Conducting Scholarship and YMF Conducting Grant. He completed his work as a doctoral conducting fellow at Indiana University.

“I am so grateful and honored to be part of an organization that puts so much priority on music education and I look forward to inspiring future generations of musicians and classical music listeners in the years to come,” concludes Kalia.