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Kristen Klehr

Kristen Klehr headshot while holding cymbal


Courses Taught

PDV 210, PDV 211 (Hot Air Festival)


BM, Percussion Performance, Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music

MA, Florida State University


The String Theory (2019-2020)

Scrap Arts Music (2017-2021)

Gryffin (2019)

Awards and Distinctions

GRAMMY® Nominated, 2019

Marimba One Artist


What is your hometown?

Binghamton, NY

What are you passionate about outside of music?

Creating and building things with friends, fitness, dim sum.

Who were your major teachers?

Joel Smales, Josh Ryan, Valerie Naranjo

What is a favorite quote that you repeatedly tell students?

"Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." - Arthur Ashe

What was a turning point in your career?

One point certainly was the year after I graduated from Conservatory, I went back to design, organize, and produce a show called "PRISM" - back before "Concert Producer" was even a job title. It involved unique staging, lighting design, collaborations from every single department, and am happy to share is now fully supported by the school. But at the time, it was completely bootstrapped. Eighty-nine students came back from break early on their own accord to do it, and I learned how to produce a show that weekend very much "on the court." From that experience, I began producing and managing music festivals all over the country (and it wasn't until seven YEARS later that I created an official production company to do what I had been doing all along!) I'm incredibly grateful for that first nudge forward that has led me to where I am today.

What is your daily practice routine?

Mornings are key! After working out and having a healthy breakfast, it's metronome + practice pad time - I hit all eight blocks within the hour: single 8s, one page of Stick Control, doubles/buzzes, accents play, beat division, polyrhythms, sight reading, and then playing along to one fun and funky song to make sure I'm in a good mood before I open up my inbox. Afternoons and Evenings are wildcards of rehearsals and sessions, so as long as I get my mornings in, I'm good!

What is your unrealized project?

Create an afterschool drumline program for girls.

Please list your most important collaborations.

Sekou Andrews & The String Theory, ShayKay

Video URL


GRAMMY® Nominated percussionist+singer Kristen Klehr has toured internationally with Scrap Arts Music, performed live with Gryffin at Coachella, and actively recorded in the Hollywood studio scene, most recently with The String Theory: The Los Angeles Suite. She has previously lectured in Music Business and Arts Entrepreneurship, building out the Music Industry track at Mount St. Mary’s University and the Arts and Markets major at Hawai’i Pacific University, and is the new Professional Development and Engagement Center Director and PDV Department Chair at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

A serial entrepreneur within the music industry, she owns Produced by BEAR, is the founder of The Den Collective, and co-founder of Pawprint. Kristen is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music in Percussion Performance, holds a master’s degree in Arts Administration from Florida State University, and a continuing education certificate in The Business of Art from the Los Angeles Center for Cultural Innovation. Passionate about creative entrepreneurship and innovation, she carries with her over ten years of consulting and mentorship experience within The Arts sector. She has studied percussion primarily with Joel Smales, Josh Ryan, and Valerie Naranjo as well as Randy Messing and Joanne Uniatowski in voice. Kristen Klehr is proudly endorsed by Marimba One, Vater Drumsticks, Dream Cymbals, and Earasers. Learn more at