Primary Instrument: Piano
In March 2007, the Abby Whiteside Foundation presented Gregg Kallor's New York concert debut as pianist and composer in Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall. Harris Goldsmith wrote: It took but a few impeccably shaped phrases to make it plain that Kallor is a formidably well-trained technician and a master of stylish proportion as well... This superb recital debut truly established a new, important voice in our musical annals. After presenting him in another exciting concert at Weill Hall in 2009, the Whiteside Foundation announced that it will present Gregg Kallor at Carnegie Hall again in the spring of 2011.
Exhilaration - Dickinson and Yeats Songs, the acclaimed new recording of Kallor's settings of poems by Emily Dickinson and William Butler Yeats, was released on the composer's own independent label 2008. The recording features mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala, who premiered these cycles with Kallor at his Carnegie Hall debut recital in 2007. Also included on the album are Kallor's setting of Christina Rossetti's poem, Song, and Lullaby (to lyrics by Herschel Garfein). Opera News wrote, Kallor knows how to make these words sing, and Zabala gives perfect flight to them.
Kallor created an interactive student workshop that explores the relationship of poetry and music (SongsWorkshop.com). This program offers students a unique opportunity to hear Kallor's songs performed live, and to engage in an open discussion about the poems and the settings with the composer. Jane H. Wald, Executive Director of the Emily Dickinson Museum, stated: Kallor's approach to making sense of poetry through music... is an important method of drawing out students' creativity and empowering them to understand for themselves the work of one of the world's greatest poets.
Kallor's first album, There's A Rhythm (2002), features his jazz trio (with bassist Chris Van Voorst Van Beest and drummer Kendrick Scott). The Hartford Courant wrote, Kallor is a lyrical player whose love for and training in classical music adds depth to his jazz playing and composing. His tone is clear and bright, and he is able to improvise thematically with an overall sense of structure... Kallor can carry a poetic mood right to the edge of sorrow, always sounding lyrical and moving without ever slipping into the lachrymose.
Gregg Kallor (pronounced KAY-ler) was born in Cleveland, Ohio and raised in West Hartford, Connecticut. He began improvising on the piano in his home as soon as he could walk over to it, started classical piano lessons when he was six, and added jazz lessons a few years later. In high school, he performed in jazz ensembles and rock bands, appearing at The White House and touring Europe. Kallor studied with Kenny Barron at Rutgers University, and Fred Hersch at the New England Conservatory of Music. He graduated from Tufts University with a degree in American Studies, and then moved to New York City, where he continued piano study with Sophia Rosoff and composition with Herschel Garfein.
The Hartford Symphony Orchestra commissioned and premiered Kallor's Fantasy Overture in 2009; he is currently composing a concerto for piano and orchestra. Among other press notices, The New Orleans Times-Picayune wrote: Kallor [is] one of those rare musicians who successfully straddles the cultural divide between jazz improvisers and classical players.
For more information, please visit greggkallor.com.