Winner of the 2013 Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award, Roger Kalia has been hailed as a conductor who conducts with “vigor” and “commitment” (Charlotte Observer) and for bringing a“fresh vi ew to classical music” (The Republic). He began his tenure as Assistant Conductor of the
Charlotte Symphony in September 2013 and he is in his third and final season as Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles. During the 2014-2015 season, Mr. Kalia will guest conduct the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra as well as serving as guest cover
conductor for the Indianapolis Symphony.
As Assistant Conductor of the Charlotte Symphony, Mr. Kalia conducts a variety of performances
including Family, Education, Outreach and Parks concerts. Covering almost every subscription
concert, he has assisted Music Director Christopher Warren-Green and many visiting artists
including Itzhak Perlman and Stephen Hough. In February 2015 he will make his debut on the
innovative Knight Sounds series as well as his Pops series debut with the Noel Friedline Trio. Mr.
Kalia frequently collaborates with the Charlotte Ballet, including more than a dozen performances of
The Nutcracker every December, and is an ardent proponent of collaborations with dancers, visual
artists, and the use of technology to enhance the concert experience. He regularly leads pre-concert
conversations and has been featured on Charlotte’s WBTV.
As a recipient of the BMI/Lionel Newman Conducting Scholarship and YMF Conducting Grant,
Mr. Kalia has led the Debut Orchestra in a variety of repertoire from Mozart through music by
leading video game composers. Winner of YMF’s 2012 National Conductor Search, he follows in
the footsteps of such illustrious conductors as Michael Tilson-Thomas, Andre Previn, and Myung
Whun Chung. Highlights from his first two seasons include three world premieres, collaborations
with violinist Glenn Dicterow and pianist Misha Dichter at UCLA’s Royce Hall, 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
As co-founder and Music Director of the Lake George Music Festival, Mr. Kalia 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 NPR’s Performance Today with
Fred Child. For the upcoming season, Mr. Kalia has designed a Family Concert series as well as a
Late Night Concert series for young professionals.
Mr. Kalia 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 work with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in his international conducting masterclass at the Zurich Festspiele. In 2013, Mr. Kalia participated in the Kurt Masur Conducting Seminar at
the Manhattan School of Music and was also invited to serve as a guest cover conductor with the St. Louis Symphony.
Mr. Kalia has worked with orchestras across North America and Europe including the Fort Worth
Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, Royal
Scottish National Orchestra, Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, Festival Orchestra of Sofia, Chelsea
Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra de Cadaques, and the Bohuslav Martinu Philarhmonic Orchestra,
among others. He has also served on jury panels for prestigious competitions including the 2013
Spotlight Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and the 2014 Rosen-Schaffel Competition at
Appalachian State University.
An enthusiastic advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Kalia 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.
He recently commissioned a work by composer Paul Dooley with the Debut Orchestra, which was
aided by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts. At the 2013 Lake George Music
Festival, he led the world premiere of Brenden Faegre’s The Brightness of Light, in honor of Georgia
O’Keefe’s legacy in Lake George. He 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. Of his conducting at the 2009 St. Magnus Festival with the Psappha New Music Ensemble, “Lewis used complex groupings and cross rhythms that propelled the players through the piece—fortunately Kalia was masterful in allowing it freedom but
keeping it under control” (St. Magnus Festival Blog).
A native of New York, Mr. Kalia completed his work as a Doctoral Conducting Fellow at Indiana University, where he was 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.