PHILLIP KLOECKNER'S musical soul has found deep resonance in a wide variety of contexts in many places around the globe. His mission is to bring positive, transformative, and inspiring energy to his audiences through the beauty and thoughtfulness of his interpretations of both standard and less-recognized literature, and through instinctive and intuitive improvisations. His most gratifying musical experiences continue to result from being part of uniting people through experiencing and sharing music. "Each time I perform, it is always exciting to invite listeners into the unfolding drama of the music. Although the notes on the printed page never change, new audiences comprised of an ever-changing cross-section of humanity bring new opportunities for dynamic interaction. And there is also the joy and challenge of bringing new insights to a well-known composition."
The breadth and depth of his performing experience at the organ and harpsichord are represented by numerous critically praised appearances in Europe, Central and South America, and in fourteen states from coast to coast in the United States. On July 4, 2018, he presented the newly discovered organ works of Giacomo Puccini to the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Kansas City. He has been a featured performer for the American Musicological Society (1998 and 2011), Society for Seventeenth-Century Music (2010), and the American Philosophical Society (2009). He has collaborated with the admired American soprano Cynthia Clayton in a program of American sacred songs from the twentieth century, with the late Sergiu Luca and the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, the Mexican guitarist Juan Carlos Aguilar, the Shepherd School Brass Ensemble, and with Mercury Baroque Ensemble. Both his live and recorded performances have been heard locally and nationally on National Public Radio. Played on the landmark Fisk-Rosales organ at Rice University, his first CD of solo organ literature, Exotic Variations, was issued by Raven Compact Discs in 2014. Excerpts from that disc have been featured on American Public Media’s broadcasts of Pipe Dreams.
Although his primary focus is performing as an organist, harpsichordist, piano accompanist, and conductor, Phillip maintains a profound commitment to teaching and mentoring developing musicians. For ten years he served on the faculty of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, teaching applied organ, music theory, aural skills, figured bass and continuo, keyboard skills, score reading, and courses in church music. He subsequently joined the music faculty at the University of Chicago in a similar position in 2012. He is the founding director of the Rockefeller Chapel Organ Studio. His textbook, FUNCTIONAL HEARING, A Contextual Method for Ear Training, written with Arthur Gottschalk, is now in its twenty-second year of publication and is undergoing revisions for a second edition with Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.
His interest and research in the realm of nineteenth-century organs lead him to the first comprehensive study of these instruments in Perú: Nineteenth-Century Organs in Perú and the Special Case of Innocente Foglia (2001). With the assistance of Hans van Gemert, he was able to document and publish for the first time the locations and specifications of several significant instruments that had been heretofore unknown, including three built by Aristide Cavaillè-Coll between 1850 and 1880. An article describing the highlights of this work appears in the December 2009 issue of THE AMERICAN ORGANIST.
From 2003 through 2012, Dr. Kloeckner was the artistic director of the 100-voice United Nations Association International Choir in Houston, establishing the ensemble as an important part of that city's cultural fabric by collaborating with a refreshing array of local soloists and ensembles representing the great indigenous musical traditions of the world. Highlights of his tenure with the UNAIC include the North American premiere of Melchor Tapia's St. Luke Passion, the Houston premiere of César Franck's Seven Last Words, and the first Houston performance in twenty-five years of Ernest Bloch's Sacred Service, with Grammy-Award winning bass baritone Mark S. Doss in the role of the cantor. For the tenth anniversary of the Choir, he commissioned Jan Gilbert's That the Dove May Rest, featuring Space City Gamelan and mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala singing the poetry of Uruguayan poet Sara de Ibáñez.
Furthermore, Phillip Kloeckner has had the opportunity to commission and/or perform the premieres of numerous works for organ, instruments, and voices by composers Gerre Hancock, Ann Gebuhr, Arthur Gottschalk, Carlyle Sharpe, Geoffrey Nytch, and Katharine O'Connell.
An adjudicator in organ competitions and a sought-after leader of workshops and retreats on subjects ranging from organs, organ playing, and organ literature to a wide variety of topics in church music and liturgies, Dr. Kloeckner served for almost twenty years on the Music Commission of the Diocese of Texas. For twenty-six years, he served with distinction as organist/choirmaster of Episcopal congregations in Pearland, Lake Jackson, and Houston, Texas.
Dr. Kloeckner has recently completed a one-year term on the board of directors of the Chicago Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.