A nationally recognized conductor, educator, composer, accordionist, and producer, Aaron Kula is a Fulbright Music Specialist and was awarded a grant in 2018 to conduct and lecture in Israel with appearances at the U.S. Embassy, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and music conservatories in the Negev and Western Galilee. Aaron began his studies at the Hebrew Arts School now the Kaufman Music Center, in New York City followed by studies at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. In May 2018 the United States Congress awarded Mr. Kula a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for his “outstanding and invaluable service to the community” in the field of music.
During his 25-year residency in Boston, he attended New England Conservatory of Music where he later
joined the conducting faculty from 1986-2013. Mr. Kula held conducting posts at Chautauqua Music School in New York and has appeared as guest conductor with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Santa Fe Symphony, Erie Ballet (PA), New Hampshire Ballet, and Boca Sinfonia as well as high school honors orchestras in Florida, Massachusetts, and Mississippi. A faculty member of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) in Boca Raton from 1997 to 2020, he led orchestral, jazz and Klezmer folk ensembles for the music department and in 2003 was appointed director of Music Performance and Education at the FAU Libraries where he produced cultural arts festivals, concerts, and community outreach programs.
Mr. Kula's interdisciplinary career in classical, jazz, and folk music led him to form the award-winning genre bending Klezmer Company Jazz Orchestra in 1997. An innovator of concert programming he has conducted concert performances of Broadway musicals with the original orchestration and a full cast including: My Fair Lady in Concert (2019),Funny Girl in Concert (2018), Fiddler on the Roof in Concert (2017), South Pacific in Concert (2016), and On The Town in Concert (2014). Mr. Kula also led the first Florida performances of Duke Ellington's Black, Brown, and Beige in 2011 and Bernstein's Jeremiah Symphony in 2016. Mr. Kula is artistic director of south Florida’s Kultur Festival now in its 12th year and in residence at the Jewish Community Center in Boca Raton, Florida and is managing director of Kula Concert Productions, Broadway in Concert, and Sinfonietta Society. Mr. Kula constantly strives to transform the concert experience with multimedia presentations, multi-genre programming, and reimagining archival music. As a composer, he has transformed over 150 compositions by reimagining vintage sheet music from music archives across the globe through a project called “Shelf to Stage.” Mr. Kula has produced three studio albums of what is described as “world Jazz”: Beyond The Tribes (2009), Klezmerology (2011), and JubanoJazz (2016). In 2011, Beyond the Tribes was selected by a juried committee from the Library of Congress (LOC) for inclusion in the Copyright Acquisitions Division. The LOC determined that the album represented an important cross section of American culture and would “enrich the collections.” In 2018 and 2019 Mr. Kula was invited to perform at the International Yiddish Tes Fest in Bucharest, Romania. In 2011 and 2014, Mr. Kula led KCJO on concert tours to California, Arizona, and Rhode Island. In 2015, the ensemble was invited to perform as a featured ensemble on the main stages at the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto and the Montreal Jewish Music Festival.
As a conductor, Aaron Kula has led orchestras throughout the US, Europe, and Israel and served on the conducting faculty at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston from 1986-2013, Boston University from 1995-1996, and Chautauqua Music School in New York from 1990-1995. An active guest conductor, he has worked with Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, Erie Ballet (PA), Boston Conservatory Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus, Boca Raton Sinfonia, and New Hampshire Ballet. In 2014 Kula was invited to conduct the Collier (FL) All County Honors Orchestra and led educational seminars for early childhood educators in the Broward and Palm Beach county school districts. He has collaborated with renowned artists including Yo-Yo Ma/cello, Richard Stoltzman/clarinet, Colin Carr/cello, Denise Graves/singer, Håkan Hagegård/singer, David Leisner/guitar, and members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra among others. As music director of the New England Conservatory Youth Symphony from 1986-2003, Mr. Kula led eleven international concert tours throughout Europe and Israel and organized European tours for Harvard Radcliffe and Stanford Symphony Orchestras between 1996-1998.
A concert accordionist, Mr. Kula began studying the accordion at the age of 10 and performs music of all genres. He performs regularly with KCJO and collaborates with musicians such as Grammy Latin jazz flautist Nestor Torres and artists from other south Florida organizations including University of Miami and New World Symphony in Miami. From 2009-2011, Mr. Kula was invited to serve as a consultant for the American Klezmer exhibit at the International Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Maestro Kula is a member of ASCAP, League of American Orchestra, and Boston Musician's Association 9-535.
Mr. Kula holds a Bachelor of Arts in music theory and Judaic studies from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Music in theory and conducting with Distinction in Performance from New England Conservatory of Music.
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