In the News

Conductor works through autism, depression, cancer to lead Burlington orchestra
As a conductor, Kim Diehnelt has to do a lot of schmoozing and interacting with people. She was so uncomfortable with that, she considered hanging up her baton. Then four years ago, she was diagnosed with autism and depression.

“It explained a lot,” she said.

Rather than hang up her baton, Diehnelt has found the right outlet for her musical passion. She is the new conductor for the Me2/Orchestra in Burlington, founded in 2011 for musicians with mental illness and those who support them. She auditioned successfully for the orchestra less than two weeks after a double mastectomy and will debut with Me2/ on Nov. 21 in Burlington.
Burlington Free Press
Conductor Kim Diehnelt Takes the Podium for Me2/Burlington
From her podium in front of the Me2/Burlington orchestra, Kim Diehnelt cuts a striking figure. She's tall and lean, and the needle-like baton she wields to guide a recent rehearsal of the community ensemble seems like a natural extension of her six-foot wingspan — the same as that of a great blue heron. Evoking the image of that graceful bird, Diehnelt soars through a section of Franz Schubert's Unfinished Symphony with lithe, rhythmic elegance.

In September, Diehnelt, 55, assumed the role of Me2/Burlington's conductor. She succeeds Ronald Braunstein, who founded the orchestra in 2011 with his wife, Caroline Whiddon. Me2/Burlington — like its newer sister orchestras in Boston and Manchester, N.H. — is composed of musicians living with various mental illnesses and individuals who support them.
Seven Days
Lake Forest Civic Orchestra performs world premieres of women composers
Kim Diehnelt, a celebrated conductor for 20 years, began composing in 2011, “and it was like a switch was flipped,” she said.

Now, she not only travels the world as a guest conductor, but also writes music for solo instruments as well as chamber, orchestra and choral ensembles. Her newest piece, “Striadica: A Symphonic Passage,” will premiere May 13 by the Lake Forest Civic Orchestra, which commissioned her to write it.
Chicago Tribune
Diehnelt’s “Wintram” a Smashing Success for Cellist and Composer Alike
Lucie Ticho is a talented cellist from the Chicago suburbs. Saturday night she gave a concert for family, friends, and the public at Second Presbyterian Church of Chicago (19th and Michigan)....This teenage musician is one to watch. She plays with maturity, technical assurance and beautiful phasing.

She also had the opportunity to perform a world premiere, Chicago composer and conductor Kim Diehnelt’s “Wintram.” It was a smashing success for cellist and composer alike.

Diehnelt spoke briefly to the audience about the composition, with the intriguing note that she composes as if she were a playwright, creating characters and stories. But there is no elucidation of these, the enigma for the performer and listener is to tease these elements out from the manuscript page.

Ticho was splendid in doing so. “Wintram” opens with a dark, soulful melody that the cellist rendered with dignity and rich sound. She gave urgent animation to the agitated passages and seemed to wholly inhabit the quiet introspective sections. It was a beautiful composition, beautifully played.
Hyde Park Herald - M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic
Northwest Symphony Orchestra plays music of the 'Homeland'
The Northwest Symphony Orchestra, a District 214 community education partner, performed its Americana concert Sunday at The Theater of Forest View Education Center in Arlington Heights. Led by conductor and music director Kim Diehnelt of Chicago, the orchestra appeared for ticket holders on Sunday afternoon.

"Music is just one of the threads of life," Diehnelt said, addressing the audience during pre-concert commentary. "Music literally makes your mind whole."

As part of the "Homeland" theme for the 2015-2016 season, selections included works by Niels Gade, Antonin Dvorak and Charles Ives. ...
Chicago Tribune. Karie Angell Luc: Copyright © 2016
Diehnelt's Elgar Arrangements Shine
The North American branch of the Elgar Society held their annual meeting in Chicago this year and to celebrate, Kim Diehnelt, the organizer of Sounds of the South Loop, put together a concert of Elgar’s music. This free concert took place on Friday at the Second Presbyterian Church. Diehnelt created two new arrangements of Elgar’s music that had their world premieres that afternoon.

The highlight of the concert was Diehnelt’s arrangement of Elgar’s “Sea Pictures” for mezzo-soprano and string quartet. Replacing a sprawling orchestra with just four string players is a big task and the arrangement is still a work in progress, with only three of the five songs completed. But the arrangement is true to the original and engaging in its own right. When Diehnelt completes her work, this will make the “Sea Pictures” available for singers unable to perform with an orchestra and bring the work to a wider audience.


Diehnelt also arranged the “Adagio” movement of Elgar’s Symphony No. 1 in A flat Major for string quartet. Even with only four voices, she was able to maintain a splendid multi-layered texture that captures the tension and the grace of the music. The Grant Street players gave a thoughtful, even ruminative performance.
Hyde Park Herald - M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic
Mastering Composing Through Conducting
Composer on Fire provides access to the greatest creative compositional minds on the planet through its ground-breaking series of podcasts led by Garrett Hope.

Maestra Kim Diehnelt is featured in this recent episode.
Composer on Fire
Diehnelt - Semi-finalist for American Prize
The American Prize is pleased to announce an extensive list of 2015 SEMI-FINALIST composers for orchestra (professional division.

Kim Diehnelt: Chicago IL
American Prize
Cellist Leevy Williams wins prestigious Paul Vermel Young Concerto Artist Award – to perform Elgar with Maestra Diehnelt
Cellist Leevy Williams will perform the complete Elgar Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, with the Northwest Symphony Orchestra in the 2015-16 season.

The Northwest Symphony Orchestra partners with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra by selecting and presenting a CYSO concerto artist in concert each spring.
Innovative ‘Sounds of the South Loop’ concerts presented in historic setting
Artistic Director Kim Diehnelt arrived at Second Presbyterian a few years ago. The Milwaukee native was captured by the spectacular interior of the church’s sanctuary, which is one of America’s best examples of an unaltered Arts and Crafts church interior, its acoustics and the opportunity it provided to musicians to perform in a space that could accommodate several hundred people.

As a professional composer, conductor, chamber music coach and music teacher, Maestra Diehnelt has an expansive network to draw from based on her work in the U.S., Finland and Europe.
Inside Booster, News Star & Skyline, January 2015
Sounds of the South Loop
There are so many benefits to living downtown Chicago in the South Loop. One of them is the monthly event called Sounds of the South Loop. Held at the 2nd Presbyterian Church of Chicago, quality musicians are brought in to perform for sixty minutes. You’ll find all types of musical flavor, from classical to exotic.

Some of the very best in the world are involved in bringing Sounds of the South Loop. First off, Director Kim Diehnelt leads the group and has brought the best performers to the stage.
South Loop Resident News, Jan 2015
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise gives a shout out to The Walden School's Composer Concert with Face the Music in New York City
Alex Ross Blog, January 2015
“The Land of Smiles”
Lehar's score is awash in captivating melodies and orchestrations lightly tinged with the colors and harmonies of traditional Chinese music. A tidy 20-piece orchestra under Kim Diehnelt serves up this chinoiserie with infectious spirit.

[Chicago Folks Operetta 2013 production of “The Land of Smiles”]

John von Rhein Classical music critic – Chicago Tribune
July 1, 2013
Chicago Tribune
“The Land of Smiles”
“Irresistible as the score is (even in concert form), Margolius’ sprightly staging surrounds it with a flawless 20-strong orchestra, conducted by Kim Diehnelt, who can do no wrong.”

[Chicago Folks Operetta 2013 production of “The Land of Smiles”]

Review by Lawrence Bommer
Chicago Theater Beat
Chicago Theater Beat
“The Land of Smiles”
Conductor Kim Diehnelt led the 20-piece orchestra alertly, drawing polished, lively and idiomatic playing of Lehár’s lush melodies, while bringing out the piquant scoring and pentatonic elements of the Chinese scenes.

[Chicago Folks Operetta 2013 production of “The Land of Smiles”]
By Lawrence A. Johnson – Chicago Classical Review
Sun Jun 30, 2013
Chicago Classical Review
"The Land of Smiles"
Conductor Kim Diehnelt masterminds the orchestra with flair. The theater has no orchestra pit, so the 20 instrumentalists are crowded onto a platform adjacent to stage right, yet their sound is airy and attractive, made all the more so with the glimmering sound of a harp built in the 1920s. (“The Land of Smiles” was completed in 1926, so this adds a nice period touch.)
Hyde Park Herald
“The Land of Smiles”
But Lehar's lyrical, waltz-packed score is well served by conductor Kim Diehnelt and her 20-piece orchestra. Chelsea Morris and Geoffrey Agpalo sound glorious as the star-crossed lovers, while charming Christine Bunuan provides comic relief as the prince's sister, a feisty foe of her family's traditional attitudes about women.

[Chicago Folks Operetta 2013 production of “The Land of Smiles”]

—Albert Williams
Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Classical Connoisseur at PianoForte
Palates at Wine and Music Tasting Event

Guests of an upcoming fine arts class won't quite be asked to taste music and listen to wine, but Monday night's workshop-cum-concert does promise some degree of sensory mix-up.

Led by Kim Diehnelt, music director of the South Loop Symphony, "The Classical Connoisseur" will guide attendees through samplings of wine and classical music on Dec. 10.

Diehnelt was inspired to combine wine and music consumption after realizing that both are experienced in similar ways.

"With listening and tasting, the same sort of thing happens in your head," Diehnelt, a studied musician and wine aficionado, said. Lizzie Schiffman December 7, 2012

Listen on Spotify

Choral Music Releases

Commissioning and Requesting Custom Music

You may wish to commission or request custom music in honor of a special person or event, offer it as a gift or tribute, or to provide new repertoire for outstanding artists or instrument types.

Commissioning lets you bring beauty and art into the world!

A general guideline for commissioning rates is available through  New Music USA .

Looking for Sheet Music?

The sheet music for most of Kim Diehnelt's original works as well as select arrangements of "gigging music" for professional musicians are available at Sheet Music Plus . Works are also available directly from Kim Diehnelt.

ASCAP Composer


Websites and Mobile Apps Powered by InstantEncore