Recognized for inspiring musicians and audience members alike through performances with a distinct synthesis of artistic excellence and community engagement, conductor BENJAMIN KLEMME is a member of the music department faculty at Gordon College, where he leads the Gordon Symphony Orchestra and Symphonic Band, and teaches courses in conducting and instrumental music education. Previously Klemme has served the Quad City Symphony Orchestra as Associate Conductor, as well as the Cleveland Pops and National Repertory Orchestras as Assistant Conductor, and has appeared as guest conductor of masterworks, pops, and family concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, and Burlington Chamber Orchestra. He has also led performances at the Central Vermont, Cedar Valley, and Oskaloosa Chamber Music Festivals.
A passionate music educator, Klemme’s work has involved leadership of nationally-recognized collegiate, youth orchestra, and community music school programs. He directed the university-wide Campus Orchestra program at the University of Minnesota and served as Orchestra Conductor at Augsburg University (Minneapolis). He was the founding Music Department Chair at New Mexico School for the Arts—a statewide, public, boarding high school for the arts—and has been Music Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association, and Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles. Additionally, he has served on the faculties of the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies and MacPhail Center for Music, and has conducted honor orchestra festivals throughout New England, the Midwest, and the Southwest.
Klemme's commitment to strengthening communities through music has been proven both on and off the podium. As Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, he connected community members throughout southeast Iowa and northwest Illinois with opportunities to hear, perform, and engage with orchestral music in both traditional and innovative contexts. In New Mexico, he helped bring classical music to life for elementary and middle school students as Artistic Advisor and Outreach Concert Host for the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival's “Music In Our Schools” program. In Ohio, he co-founded the Scordatura Chamber Orchestra, a Cleveland-based ensemble designed to support classroom learning objectives in language arts, math, science, and social studies through interactive orchestral performances.
Klemme earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Minnesota, where he was a James Sample Conducting Fellow and Assistant Conductor of the University Opera Theatre. He holds a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the Cleveland Institute of Music and Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Northern Iowa. His principal conducting teachers include Mark Russell Smith, Kathy Saltzman Romey, Carl Topilow, Louis Lane, Rebecca Burkhardt, and Ronald Johnson.