ASO maestro transcends the norm


Alexandria Symphony Orchestra Maestro Kim Allen Kluge does everything melding techno with traditional Japanese music for a movie score here, directing a symphonic show accessible to children there.

I love it all, Kluge said of his eclectic musical tastes.

One of Kluges loves right now is his newest show, Rapture, opening Saturday at Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall. Well, its more like two shows: a highbrow mingling of the orchestra, choral singers and dancers on Saturday and an abbreviated family-friendly version Sunday.

Sundays version will feature shorter selections, which Kluge hopes will turn squeamish temper tantrums by the little ones into mesmerized eyes, fixed on colorful, energetic and athletic movements by the Bowen McCauley Dance group. 

The kids will be there, sharing the experience with the parents, Kluge said. I think its going to be appealing to children.  At five dollars a ticket per child, Kluge hopes it will be appealing to parents too. Sundays show gives parents an option to include and enlighten their kids, Kluge said.

I have one purpose only when Im up there: to create a window into which all of us can enter, Kluge said. The window into the experience.

His gig with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra brings him alongside the Alexandria Choral Society and the Bowen McCauley Dance group this weekend, a trio of acts echoing Kluges history of reaching broad audiences with his productions. In this case, hes hoping to reach a multigenerational one.

Theres more substance when the experience is shared, Kluge said. I love my electronic stuff my iPod but this is an experience you cant get with your headphones.

Rapture aims to transcend the generation gap with its alternative show much as the New York Philharmonic transcended culture with its performance in North Korea last week. Music communicates with people on a non-verbal level, Kluge said. The ASO show may be a less monumental occasion, but via musics international language, it could also be a diplomatic one.

ASO will perform Mendelssohns Symphony #4 Italian, Faurs Pavane, Beethovens Elegischer Gesang, Opus 118, Handels Zadok the Priest, and Respighis Ancient Airs and Dances #1 for both shows, nuanced by the choral singers and dancers to create what Kluge calls magical theatrics.

Kluges resume is extensive and varied.  Hes been a guest director of the Boston Pops and is frequently compared to greats like Leonard Bernstein. 

The maestros far-reaching arms have also touched Hollywood, where hes working with multiple directors he says theyre like Spielbergs right-hand men on film scores.  Kluge says the most notable of these projects is a composition for a film about the civil war that gave birth to modern Japan. For this score, he is fusing techno music with traditional Japanese instruments. Its no wonder his diverse endeavors keep him feeling really fortunate.