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Celebrating the Maestro

ASO concerts marks 25th anniversary of Kim Allen Kluge.

Maestro Kim Allen Kluge conducts the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in the Feb. 10 concert celebrating his 25th year with the ASO.

Maestro Kim Allen Kluge conducts the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra in the Feb. 10 concert celebrating his 25th year with the ASO. Photo by Jeanne Theismann.

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World-renown concert pianist Yuliya Gorenman, left, congratulates Kim Allen Kluge and Kathryn Vassar Kluge following the Feb. 10 ASO performance.

— Showcasing talent from throughout the city, the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra celebrated the 25th anniversary of Maestro Kim Allen Kluge with a weekend of concerts Feb. 9 and 10 that featured the world premiere of River Poem, an original piece by Kluge and his wife Kathryn Vassar Kluge.

“River Poem is a symphonic poem inspired by and dedicated to our beloved Alexandria,” Kim Allen Kluge said. “It celebrates our connectedness — to our past, present and future, to one another and to the world.”

“Kim is an incredible musician, inspiration and friend and Alexandria is very fortunate to have him.”

— Yuliya Goreman, concert pianist

Commissioned by Virginia Bronze, River Poem is a four-movement symphonic work for orchestra, double chorus and bell choir. For its premiere, the ASO was joined onstage at the Rachel M. Schlesinger Hall by the Virginia Bronze Handbell Ensemble, the Alexandria Choral Society and the Heritage Signature Chorale.

“I believe that River Poem will be as gratifying to perform as it is to listen to,” said Kim Allen Kluge, who has also composed for saxophonist Branford Marsalis. “Although it was written by me and Kathryn as a tribute to Alexandria, its themes are universal.”

In addition to River Poem, the concert featured selections from Mendelsson, Morris, Bach and Handle as well as a brilliant performance by concertmaster Claudia Chudacoff in Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 in D Major.

But the extended ovations were reserved for Maestro Kluge, the Oberlin Conservatory of Music valedictorian who joined the ASO in 1987 at the age of 28.

“It was an amazing performance,” said Yuliya Goreman, a world-renown concert pianist who was in the audience. “I am excited to be here to celebrate Maestro's Kluge's 25th anniversary. Kim is an incredible musician, inspiration and friend and Alexandria is very fortunate to have him.”

For more information on the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra, call 703-548-0885 or visit www.Alexsym.org.