The first time Christian Kluxen conducted the Victoria Symphony, he knew it could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
He was a guest conductor in the spring and the excitement was tremendous from both the musicians and himself, Kluxen recalled. One he returned to his home in Copenhagen, Denmark, he couldn’t help but think of the orchestra’s potential.
Fast forward six months later, and Kluxen can now explore that potential after being named the symphony’s next music director for the 2017/18 season. After an extensive search, the 34-year-old was selected from more than 100 applicants to succeed Maestra Tania Miller as she completes her 14th season leading the symphony. Landing the position came as a bit of a surprise.
“We had an interview and I didn’t think they would be positive towards me because I had a lot of things to say, both good and less good,” said Kluxen from his home in Copenhagen, adding the appointment marks his first time as music director.
“I tried to express immediately what I felt and I thought I would be out the door in 15 minutes, but then they listened and I think that’s the strength of this orchestra — that they listened.”
Kluxen’s journey into classical music began as a child when he joined a boys marching band, playing the flute at an amusement park in Copenhagen. Eventually he went on to study music, completing his three-year assistant conductorship at the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2013.
Since then, he’s held the prestigious post of Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014/15, and conducted several orchestras across Europe including the London Philharmonic, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Philharmonic and Turku Philharmonic, along with regular engagements with the Copenhagen Philharmonic and South Denmark Philharmonic.
Kluxen’s experience also extends into the opera world, including the critically acclaimed tour of Madama Butterfly with the Danish National Opera.
For Kluxen, classical music is a special way of connecting with people without saying anything.
“In general, music is the most strong language that human kind has available because you can say a lot of things without actually saying anything verbally, so it’s great to conduct,” he said. “I feel that I can say a lot of things that I don’t know how to say in words.”
Kluxen plans to live in both Victoria and Copenhagen once he officially moves into the role of music director next season. He already has many visions of where he’d like to take the Victoria Symphony, but first he plans to converse with Miller to review all the things she has done and wanted to achieve.
On Oct. 24, Kluxen conducted his first official concert with the symphony at the Royal Theatre as the incoming music director. It was an experience he describes as very positive.
“It’s good to feel all the love from everyone and that I can make a difference and the people want me to make a difference,” said Kluxen. “I think it’s a great orchestra. They are very good musicians and it’s a great community.”