Vermont Youth Orchestra — Music Director
CSSM since 2018
DMA (University of Minnesota), MM (Cleveland Institute of Music), BMEd (University of Northern Iowa)
Conductor and educator Benjamin Klemme leads an active career dedicated to engaging audiences and performers of all ages with the transforming power of orchestral music. As Music Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association, he conducts the organization's flagship ensemble—the Vermont Youth Orchestra—and provides artistic leadership and vision for orchestral and choral programs that serve over 300 students in grades 1-12 from across Vermont and neighboring states. Before coming to Vermont, Klemme served as Associate Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, Music Director and Conductor of the Quad City Symphony Youth Ensembles, Orchestra Conductor at Augsburg College (Minneapolis), and Concert Orchestra Conductor at the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies. Previously he has held conducting posts at the National Repertory and Cleveland Pops Orchestras, University of Minnesota, Santa Fe Youth Symphony Association, and MacPhail Center for Music. His guest conducting appearances include performances with the Minnesota Orchestra, Cleveland Pops Orchestra, Quad City Symphony Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, Cleveland Institute of Music Orchestra, and University of Minnesota Opera Theatre.
Klemme earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the University of Minnesota, where he was a James Sample Conducting Fellow. 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, Carl Topilow, Louis Lane, Rebecca Burkhardt and Ronald Johnson.
Klemme's passion for and commitment to music education is displayed through his work 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 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, and chaired the music department at New Mexico School for the Arts, a statewide, public, boarding high school for the arts. 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.