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Hailed as a conductor who leads with "passionate intensity" and recognized as "one to watch," Roger Kalia is one of America's most exciting young conductors. A recipient of a 2013 and 2017 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Kalia is currently the Assistant Conductor of Pacific Symphony and the Music Director of Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. He began his tenure in 2015, and was recently awarded a two-year contract extension, becoming only the second assistant conductor in Pacific Symphony's history to receive this honor. Kalia also serves as Co-Founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival in upstate New York, the premier musical arts festival in the region. Previously, he served for two seasons as Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony, where he conducted the orchestra in a variety of performances and invigorated the orchestra’s engagement with the community. Kalia has also held Music Director positions with both the Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Debut Orchestra and Columbus (IN) Symphony Orchestra, the oldest orchestra in the state and only its fourth music director. In June 2016, Kalia led the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra on a highly successful tour of China, which marked the orchestra’s second international tour and its first to Asia.
In addition to his current positions, Kalia is in consistent demand as a guest conductor. In the 2017-2018 season, he makes his European subscription debut with the Szczecin Philharmonic in Poland, and returns to conduct the Bakersfield Symphony. Further recent and upcoming engagements include the National Symphony at the Kennedy Center, Chicago Sinfonietta at Symphony Hall, Long Beach Symphony, Camarada Chamber Orchestra of San Diego, Great Falls Symphony, Owensboro Symphony, Boise Philharmonic, and Adrian Symphony, among others. He has collaborated with such artists as Glenn Dicterow, David Kim, Nikki and Timothy Chooi, Randy Newman, the B-52s, Jack Black, Dan Dunn, Fei-Fei Dong, and Misha Dichter, and has served as cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Kansas City Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony. Kalia has worked in various capacities with the New York Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Danish National Symphony, and Royal Scottish National Orchestra, among others. Kalia conducted the Memphis Symphony in 2011 after winning Second Prize in their International Conducting Competition, which led to his debut the following season and launched his professional career.
Kalia started his career as Music Director of the YMF Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles (2012-2015), following in the footsteps of such conductors as Michael Tilson Thomas and Andre Previn. Kalia led the orchestra in a variety of repertoire from Mozart through music by acclaimed video game and film composers. Highlights of his tenure included four world premieres, collaborations with violinist Glenn Dicterow and pianist Misha Dichter at UCLA’s Royce Hall, a production of Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat with actors Jack Black and Michael Lerner at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Los Angeles premiere of Michael Giacchino’s Star Trek Into Darkness at the orchestra’s 60th Anniversary Gala Concert, and a collaboration with the Angel City Chorale of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary. In addition, Kalia led the Debut Orchestra in the orchestra’s first-ever performance at the Our Lady of Angels Cathedral (the largest church in Los Angeles) in December 2012 for the Virgin of Guadalupe Festival with more than 2,000 people in attendance as well as being live-streamed worldwide.
In addition to being a two-time recipient (2017 and 2013) of a Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Kalia also held fellowships with the Chicago Sinfonietta as part of their Project Inclusion program, and the 2010 American Academy of Conducting at the Aspen Music Festival, where he worked with Robert Spano. He was also an active participant at the 2011 Conductors Guild Conductor/Composer Training Workshop at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, chosen by Marin Alsop. That same year David Zinman invited him to conduct the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in his international conducting masterclass at the Zurich Festspiele. In 2013 Kalia worked with Kurt Masur at his annual Conducting Seminar at the Manhattan School of Music. Passionate about teaching the next generation of musicians, Kalia maintains a regular teaching relationship with the Colburn School and Cal State Fullerton, and he recently conducted the 2018 Missouri All-State Symphony Orchestra.
A native of New York, Kalia received his Doctorate from Indiana University, where he served as an Associate Instructor and Assistant Conductor of the IU Opera Theater and New Music Ensemble. He also holds degrees from the University of Houston and SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. His primary mentors include David Effron, Arthur Fagen, and Franz Anton Krager.