|Winner of the 2017 & 2013 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Roger Kalia has been hailed as a conductor who conducts with “vigor” and “commitment” by the Charlotte Observer and for bringing a “fresh view to classical music” by The Republic.
Roger is the newly appointed Assistant Conductor of the Pacific Symphony and Music Director of the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. He recently completed a successful two-year tenure as Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony, and served for three years as Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles. During the summer, Roger serves as Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival in upstate New York. Upcoming engagements include appearances with the National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Sinfonietta, and a 10-day tour of China with the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra in the summer of 2016.Roger has worked with orchestras across North America and Europe including the Pittsburgh Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Chelsea Symphony, and the Orquestra de Cadaques, among others.
During the 2014-2015 season, he guest conducted the Bakersfield Symphony, and served as a guest cover conductor with the St. Louis Symphony and Indianapolis Symphony. That same season, he was invited as a finalist to the Assistant Conductor audition for the New York Philharmonic.During his tenure as Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony, Roger conducted a variety of performances including Family, Education, Outreach, Pops, and Parks concerts. He assisted Music Director Christopher Warren-Green and many visiting artists including Itzhak Perlman and Stephen Hough, and frequently collaborated with the Charlotte Ballet, including more than a dozen performances of he Nutcracker every December. Roger is an ardent proponent of collaborations with dancers, visual artists, and multimedia, and has shared the stage with Michael Boudewyns, Grey Seal Puppets, Metropolitan Ballroom, and students from Northwest School of the Arts, Central Piedmont Community College and UNC Charlotte. He regularly led pre-concert conversations and was featured on Charlotte’s WBTV. Roger was also part of Creative Loafing’s “15 People to Watch in Charlotte” during 2015.
As Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra from 2012-2015, Roger 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, and a collaboration with the Angel City Chorale of Mendelssohn’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream in celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary. The orchestra’s performance of Paul Dooley’s Coast of Dreams, a commissioned work, was recently featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today with Fred Child. Roger also collaborated and shared the stage with Randy Newman for the orchestra’s 60th Anniversary Gala concert. Always trying to introduce new audiences to classical music, Roger conducted the Debut Orchestra at the Ford Theater in a concert titled Gamers Jam, which featured music by leading video game composers from around the world.
As co-founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival, Roger conducts the Lake George Festival Orchestra and chamber ensembles every summer in upstate New York. The first classical music festival of its kind in Lake George, the orchestra brings together young professionals and current students from many prestigious institutions including the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the symphonies of Atlanta, Charlotte, Richmond, Kansas City, New World, Dallas, Boise, Detroit, San Antonio, and the premier conservatories in the nation including the Curtis Institute of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Eastman School of Music. The orchestra has been featured on a variety of radio programs including American Public Media’s Performance Today with Fred Child. A strong advocate of music education and audience development, Roger created an annual Family Concert series and Late Night Concert series. These collaborative projects recently resulted in a $50,000 grant from the New York State Council of the Arts.
Roger has been invited to some of the most distinguished music festivals and competitions around the world including fellowships to the Aspen Music Festival’s American Academy of Conducting, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and the St. Magnus Festival in Scotland. In 2011 he won Second Prize at the Memphis Symphony International Conducting Competition, which led to his debut with the orchestra the following season. That same year David Zinman invited him to conduct the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in his international conducting masterclass at the Zurich Festspiele. In 2013, Roger worked with Kurt Masur at his annual Conducting Seminar at the Manhattan School of Music.
An enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music, Roger has commissioned and programmed more than 100 works by some of America’s brightest and innovative composers including Mason Bates, Michael Daugherty, David Lang, Aaron Jay Kernis, and Paul Chihara, among others. With the Debut Orchestra, he has worked closely with acclaimed film and television composers such as John Williams, Ed Shearmur, Michael Levine, Alex Wurman, Greg Edmonson, and Austin Wintory. This past summer at the Lake George Music Festival, Roger led the world premiere of Harry Stafylakis’ Arc of Horizon,which received a commissioning grant from the New York State Council of the Arts. Roger also helped create and conducted on the “Double Exposure” series at Indiana University, which was a unique collaboration between composers and film students where live music is performed to silent films.
A native of New York, Roger 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. His primary mentors include David Effron, Arthur Fagen, and Franz Anton Krager, and he has undertaken additional studies with Franz Welser-Moest, David Zinman, Kurt Masur, Robert Spano, Marin Alsop, Hugh Wolff, Gustav Meier, and Larry Rachleff.