LIMA — Roger Kalia’s entire philosophy is that music is for everyone. Kalia will be the Lima Symphony Orchestra’s next guest conductor for the holiday show “Bells, Brass and Bows.”
In order to make music that accessible, Kalia puts a lot of emphasis on music education and also making concerts less of a program and more of an all-encompassing and interactive event.
“If I were to be the music director, I would make sure there is a direct connection with the people of Lima and that we’re doing a variety of different concerts and programs not only in the concert hall, but breaking out from there,” Kalia described as he envisioned himself as the head of the Lima Symphony Orchestra. “The symphony is doing that already a bit, but I would love to do is take our musicians and perform in all kinds of different venues like coffee shops and breweries — bringing the music to the people.”
Kalia is currently based in Long Beach, California, where he has been working as assistant conductor with the Pacific Symphony and works with the youth orchestra. He also serves as music director for the Orchestra Santa Monica and the Symphony New Hampshire. Kalia co-founded and serves as the music director for the Lake George Music Festival, a two-week event featuring both emerging and celebrated artists in classical and new music.
“I’m really fortunate with the Pacific Symphony because they have the resources to do a really large amount of educational concerts,” Kalia explained. “The hall has a big screen above the orchestra so we can incorporate lots of different types of multimedia within the concert.”
Kalia recalled one program, “Music of Space,” where his orchestra utilized NASA images of planets in real time with the music. To end the program, Kalia led the orchestra in the music of “Star Wars” conducting with a lightsaber.
“In these productions, I’m also a part in the show. I’m not just conducting, I’m also a character in the production. The orchestra is the main character, but there are moments I step off the podium and engage with the audience,” Kalia said. “It’s not making the music less serious, but showing that music can be really fun and exciting in many ways. You can still take yourself seriously, but it’s diving into the music even more I think in that respect.”
Kalia prefers to build his programs around a narrative, especially when it comes to educational ones.
“My philosophy is taking a theme and building a program around it by incorporating actors, visuals,” he said. “It takes time to put together but I think kids today really connect well when we are able to bring all these fields together.”
Kalia said he’s thrilled to be slated for the always well-attended holiday concert with Lima Symphony Orchestra. With that show, he wanted to incorporate a wide variety of music including classical pieces, holiday classics, pieces from musicals and some new music as well.
“All of these types of pieces on the program, I want to call it more of an event than a concert,” he said of “Bells, Brass and Bows.” “It’s not just your typical concert where it goes by piece by piece where I don’t turn around. We will have the engagement of the full Lima Symphony Chorus so there’s going to be an enormous amount of people on stage at points, and it’s important to utilize those forces and people.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.