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Success Story: UH Alumnus Now Major American Orchestra Associate Conductor

Pacific Symphony promotes award-winning, innovative maestro Roger Kalia.

Moores School of Music (MSM) alumnus Roger Kalia rings in the new year as the Orange County Pacific Symphony’s associate conductor.

Franz Anton Krager, MSM professor of conducting, said he was overcome with pride after learning about Kalia’s promotion. But as his mentor, Krager wasn’t exactly surprised.

“Roger is a star,” Krager says. “He was a model student, on time, enthusiastic, well studied, well-liked. He had the whole package — and still does. The news didn’t surprise me whatsoever.”

As the Pacific Symphony’s associate conductor, Kalia, who previously served as assistant conductor, will continue his work with the Pacific Symphony Youth Orchestra. He will also conduct the orchestra’s Family Musical Mornings and Class Act Youth Concerts alongside new commitments.

Before his work with the Pacific Symphony, Kalia performed with a great deal of orchestras, spanning from Fort Worth Symphony to the Danish National Symphony. He also collaborated with a wide range of artists, like Jack Black and PROJECT Trio, and produced the series “Sounds of Our Time.” The concert series combines innovative visuals, audience engagement and multimedia effects to emphasize the connection between popular modern and classical orchestral music, demonstrating Kalia’s masterful conducting.

“Roger is above all else musical,” says Krager, recalling how Kalia’s conducting potential flourished during his studies. “He’s a creative thinker who puts together a program much like a chef creates a balanced diet. Truthfully, to be musical overrides and supersedes everything else. And Roger is that. He lives and eats and breathes music.”

Krager also said the promotion — a “big step” in Kalia’s already noteworthy career — reflects on the high caliber of the University of Houston’s comprehensive courses.

“It’s not just about the mechanics of conducting or even the studying of conducting,” says Krager. “It’s about how to interact and how to succeed in the world we live in. You’ve got to know how to engage with people, circumstances and be one step ahead of everybody else and their thinking. This is how students can succeed and what the University offers.”