A conductor with “an infectious exuberance, one that transfers to the performers and the audience,” Mitchell Sardou Klein is Music Director of the Peninsula Symphony and a frequent guest conductor of orchestras throughout the United States and abroad.
Mr. Klein made his acclaimed European debut in 1993 with the New Polish Philharmonic, and returned to lead that ensemble in 1996, when he also appeared with the Suddettic Philharmonic. In the U.S. he has led the Seattle Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Eastern Philharmonic, Flagstaff Festival Symphony, Amarillo Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic and South Bend Symphony. In California his guest appearances have included the Santa Rosa Symphony, the San Jose Symphony (on many occasions), the Santa Cruz Symphony, the Inland Empire/Riverside Philharmonic, Ballet San Jose, the California Riverside Ballet and the Livermore-Amador Philharmonic. As Music Director of the Peninsula Youth Orchestra he has led concert tours of France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Belgium, Holland, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, for which he and the orchestra were presented an ASCAP award for Programming American Music on Foreign Tour. Mr. Klein also has extensive experience in conducting ballet orchestras, including the Kansas City, Lone Star, Oakland, and Westport Ballets, as well as the Theater Ballet of San Francisco and les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
Mr. Klein directed over a hundred concerts as Associate Conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic (where he was also Principal Pops Conductor and Principal Conductor of Starlight Theater, the Philharmonic’s summer home), and also served as Music Director of the Santa Cruz Symphony. Since 1984, he has been Director of the Irving M. Klein International String Competition. Held in San Francisco each June, the Competition has become one of the most prominent in the world, featuring prizes totaling $25,000, attracting applicants from more than twenty nations annually, and launching numerous major international concert careers.
Maestro Klein is the winner of many prestigious awards, including the 2008 Diamond Award for Best Individual Artist, the Silver Lei Award from the 2009 Honolulu Film Festival (for the World Premiere of Giancarlo Aquilanti’s La Poverta), the 2001 Jullie Billiart Award from the College of Notre Dame for Outstanding Community Service, a 1996 award for the year’s best television performance program in the Western States (for the one-hour PBS program about him and the Peninsula Symphony) as well as the 1993 Bravo Award for his contribution to the Bay Area’s cultural life.
Mr. Klein was born in New York City, into a musical family that included members of the Claremont and Budapest String Quartets. He began cello studies at age four with his father, Irving Klein, founder of the Claremont Quartet. His mother, Elaine Hartong Klein, danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet.
Cited for his “keen judgment, tight orchestral discipline, feeling for tempo, and unerring control,” Maestro Klein has conducted many significant world, American, and West Coast premieres, including works by Bohuslav Martinu, Meyer Kupferman, Joan Tower, Hans Kox, George Barati, Benjamin Lees, Giancarlo Aguilanti, Melissa Hui, Rodion Shchedrin, Brian Holmes, Ron Miller, Alvin Brehm, and Margaret Garwood. He has appeared frequently on national and international broadcasts, including National Public Radio, the Voice of America, the WFMT Fine Arts Network, PBS Television, and KQED television. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife, violist Patricia Whaley, and daughter Elizabeth, now a college senior.