Short Bio: AJ Kluth is an improviser, saxophonist, and PhD student in Ethnomusicology (Systematic Musicology Specialization) at UCLA, where his current research focuses on musical experimentalism in Los Angeles and questions of musical meaning. His doctoral dissertation, “Challenges of Musical Experimentalism in Los Angeles: Toward a Mediation of Methodological Antimonies,“ will put ethnographic methodologies in conversation with aesthetic theory to address questions about the affective power of challenging, non-commercial music flourishing in a world capitol of commercial music production. He is working under the direction of Roger Savage, Robert Fink, Steven Loza, and James Newton.
AJ is currently based in Erfurt, Germany, while writing his dissertation.
Longer Bio: AJ Kluth is a Ph.D. Candidate in ethnomusicology (systematic musicology specialization) at the University of California, Los Angeles. He holds degrees from New York University (M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought, 2013) and DePaul University (M.M. in Jazz Saxophone Performance, 2006). Kluth’s dissertation considers the contemporary Los Angeles experimental music scene through the lenses of sociology, theories of post-postmodernity, and argues the relevance of the hermeneutical turn in music study to account for the power of aesthetic experience.
Kluth’s publications appear in the Journal of Jazz Studies, The International Journal of Arts Theory and History, DownBeat Magazine, and Ethnomusicology Review's “Sounding Board,” in addition to his book of transcribed solos by acclaimed jazz saxophonist Chris Potter. Research interests include musical experimentalism, jazz studies, aesthetics, onto-phenomenology and theories of interpretation, philosophy of mind, and cognitive psychology.
An accomplished saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist, AJ is also a teaching artist for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz’s “Jazz in the Classroom” outreach program. After his initial graduate studies in Chicago, Kluth worked in that scene with diverse artists such as the Chicago Afrobeat Project, Lauren Frost, the AJ Kluth Quintet, L’Orchestre Super Vitesse, Jerome Holloway, the University of Chicago’s Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, and leading his band ALDRIC. Moving to New York City in 2011 for graduate work at NYU, he worked with The Avalon Jazz Band, Caramelo, Ben Miller’s Sensorium Saxophone Orchestra, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, and Hank Lane Productions. As an OA2 Records recording artist, Kluth has released records featuring the AJ Kluth Quintet and his band ALDRIC.