Los Angeles based percussionist Kristen Klehr enjoys a multifaceted career path within the music industry. Klehr plays drums for rock-soul recording artist Dana James in WEHO/DTLA, marimba in the premiere of rock musical “Skullduggery” in Hollywood, orchestral percussion with the Santa Monica Symphony and conductorless chamber group One Found Sound (San Francisco), drum set for Broadway pit orchestra musicals in South Bay, world music with various yoga-synergy studios, and explorative new music with arts collaborative “Trespass Project,” an ongoing partnership with dance and visual arts for the Highway Performance Series. In her spare time she enjoys working on an evolving marimba/voice project and loves collaborating with other singer/songwriters in the city. Klehr was classically trained at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music and has studied primarily with Josh Ryan and Joel Smales. Additionally she earned a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Florida State University in 2012.
In addition to performing, Klehr loves expanding upon the immersive performance experience and challenging traditional concepts on ‘what a concert should be' with her company, BEAR. She’s been called an “innovator,” “entrepreneur,” and perhaps her favorite: “a professional instigator.” Prior to launching BEAR, she spent seven years as an arts administrative professional helping numerous non-profits launch, expand, thrive, and strengthen their own missions; you can find her fingerprints on ChamberFest Cleveland (Ohio), nief-norf Summer Festival (Greenville, SC), Lev Aronson Legacy Festival (Dallas, TX), Kaleidoscope (Los Angeles, CA), Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music (Santa Cruz, CA), Ohio Arts Presenters Network (Columbus, OH), Salastina Music Society (Pasadena, CA), BW PRISM (Berea, OH), Zeltsman Marimba Festival (Lawrence, WI), and the Roberto Ocasio Latin-Jazz Project (Cleveland, OH). Within artist relations and event production, Klehr has worked with The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Percussive Arts Society. Klehr’s passion for arts advocacy and consulting has led to her election into the Emerging Arts Leaders of Los Angeles 2016-2017, a branch of the nationally acclaimed Americans for the Arts.
Kristen Klehr was born in Binghamton, New York into a musical home, surrounded by jazz and classical LPs played on repeat by her mother, and 1920-1940s folk/popular tunes played on banjo, hammered dulcimer, mandolin, and guitar by her father. This unique blend of musical influences from her upbringing has greatly shaped her approach to melodic and rhythmic musical interpretations, as well as her thoughts on cultural value within music. She jokes that this is why she’s never been able to settle on playing only in one genre of percussion. Her appreciation of music spans further in playing Brazilian batucada (repique), Trinidad and Tobago steel pan (lead), West African music (Ghanaian gyil and Ewe drumming), and Cuban guaguancó (congas).
In addition, Kristen is a specialty fitness instructor exclusively for Equinox, running coach for LA Women Run Walk, as well as a brand connector and fitness model for Respect Your Universe (RYU), a high-end technical apparel company based out of Vancouver, Canada. She is interested in musician fitness/wellness integration programs targeted at injury prevention, performance anxiety reduction, and streamlined body performance.
Photo Credit: Francesco Desmaele