About the Theater & Music Director
Brett Klaus, a St. Louis area native, is active both as solo and collaborative recitalist and as teacher and vocal coach. Mr. Klaus currently serves as Music Director, Theater Director, Music History, Dual Credit Music Appreciation and Music Literature Instructor at Marquette Catholic High School (Alton, IL). He previously served as an Adjunct Professor of Piano and Voice faculty at McKendree University. He has also performed as choral and artist in residence accompanist/recitalist for Winter Opera St. Louis. Mr. Klaus has previously spent several seasons as Faculty, Musical Director, and accompanist of the Young Artist Program at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (Lenox, MA); he has also served as music director of the Artist in Residence program at Opera Theater St. Louis and as Assistant Musical Director/Conductor at Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville.
This summer marks Mr. Klaus’ fourth summer music theatre workshop at Marquette; past Workshop Clinicians have included Dr. Emily Truckenbrod, Dr. Marc Schapman, and one of the world’s leading Sopranos, Christine Brewer. Mr. Klaus recently received an award of special recognition at the 2023 St. Louis High School Music Theater Awards (for going The Extra Mile). The MCHS Choir, which he also directs, just won Foreigner’s 2023 Farewell Concert Choir Competition where his students opened for the band to a sold-out crowd of 20,000 people at the Hollywood Amphitheater (St. Louis). His students have won numerous awards and scholarships which includes winners of IHSA State Competition (Best of the Day Award), the MCHS Vocal Competition, the Recording Industries of America Music Award, and the Miles Davis Jazz Scholarship, to name a few. His students have taken part in summer music and theater festivals across the country which include the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Brevard Music Festival, and the BUTI Young Artist Program at Tanglewood. His students have also been featured on radio and television broadcasts which includes KSDK (segment for their theater production of Peter Pan), National Catholic Radio, and as featured performers on Show Me St. Louis (KSDK).
In addition to Directing both the Music and the Theater Departments at Marquette, this year Mr. Klaus has received grant funding for percussion instruments, a partnership alongside SIUE’s Percussion Ensemble, and Drumline Performances at XFL Battle Hawks Football Games (St. Louis, MO). This year marks MCHS first ever Drumline; thanks in part, to the generosity of Dr. Daniel Smithiger, head of percussion at SIUE.
This Fall, Mr. Klaus performs Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with the Alton Symphony Orchestra at Hatheway Hall (Lewis and Clark College). Other recent notable classical concerts include a five-piano concert alongside University of Missouri and Eastman School of Music Faculty for the Odyssey Chamber Music Series (Columbia, MO). Recent performances in New York City include Greenfield Hall, Miller Recital Hall, and Ades Performance Space, as well as a featured performer in live webcasts of both the 8th Annual MSM International Student Concert and a Masterclass Seminar with Thomas Hampson at the Manhattan School of Music; in addition to Mr. Hampson, he has performed in masterclasses with artists that include Martina Arroyo, Bryn Terfel, Lang Lang, Peter Schickele, Abbey Simon, Idil Biret, Dawn Upshaw, and Renee Fleming.
He has appeared in solo and orchestral halls throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe and appeared as soloist with the Columbia Chamber Orchestra and Sinfonia Perusina (Italy), among others. Music festival performances include Brevard Music Festival, Le Centre d’Arts Orford (Montreal), The Las Vegas Music Festival, Sound Encounters at the New England Conservatory, Brandeis Chamber Music Festival, and Music Fest Perugia (Italy), among others. Previously, he has given live performances on WSQR National Public Radio and was a two-time consecutive winner of both the Boston Conservatory Piano Honors Competition and the Boston Conservatory Chamber Music Honors Competition. Piano studies (solo piano) with Thomas Muraco, Max Levinson, Peter Miyamoto, Ayako Tsuruta, and Elinor Freer as well as additional private study with Jerome Lowenthal at the Juilliard School; collaborative piano (vocal) studies with Michael Strauss, Kenneth Merrill, Dr. Alan Smith at the University of Southern California, and Thomas Muraco at the Manhattan School of Music. Frequent interpreter of contemporary music -- premieres of works by composers Kenji Bunch, Andy Vores, Mohammed Fairouz, and Lowell Liebermann; additional new music performances with the Ludivico Ensemble, Juventas, Pierrot Lunaire Ensemble, and Columbia Chamber Soloists. Founder, Die Hexen Piano Duo (Boston, MA). Former Staff Accompanist at the Manhattan School of Music, The Boston Conservatory and Boston University; former Piano Faculty, New School of Music (Cambridge, MA) and Brookline Music School. (Professional Studies Certificate, Opera and Vocal Collaborative Piano - Manhattan School of Music; Master of Music Piano Performance – The Boston Conservatory; Bachelor of Music Piano Performance – The University of Missouri – Columbia)
Aside from performance, Mr. Klaus recently completed his fourth 5K and fundraiser, Rooting for Ruth for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network www.pancan.org recently completed the 2023 Go STL Half Marathon. He has also collaborated with Dr. Omid Tofighian, translator of Boochani's internationally acclaimed and Victorian Prize-winning memoir, No Friend but the Mountains, for High School/Collegiate curriculums. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Alton Symphony Orchestra.