Carlos Kalmar served 18 seasons as music director of the Oregon Symphony. He is also the artistic director and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.
In May 2011 he made his New York debut at Carnegie Hall with the Oregon Symphony as part of the inaugural Spring for Music festival. Both his imaginative program, Music for a Time of War, and the performance itself were hailed by critics in The New York Times, New Yorker magazine and Musical America, and the concert was recorded and released on the PentaTone label, subsequently earning two Grammy nominations (Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered). Under Kalmar’s guidance the orchestra has recorded subsequent CDs on the PentaTone label – This England, featuring works by Britten, Vaughan Williams, and Elgar; The Spirit of the American Range, with works by Copland, Piston, and Antheil, which received another Best Orchestral Performance Grammy nomination; and Haydn Symphonies.
New Yorker magazine critic Alex Ross called the Oregon Symphony’s Carnegie Hall performance under Kalmar “the highlight of the festival and one of the most gripping events of the current season.” That verdict was echoed by Sedgwick Clark, writing for Musical America, who described the performance of Vaughan Williams’ Fourth Symphony as “positively searing… with fearless edge-of-seat tempos… breathtakingly negotiated by all…”
A regular guest conductor with major orchestras in America, Europe, and Asia, Kalmar recently made his subscription series debuts with three of America’s most prestigious orchestras: those of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. Past engagements have seen him on the podium with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the New World Symphony, as well as the orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, Seattle, and St. Louis.
Carlos Kalmar, born in Uruguay to Austrian parents, showed an early interest in music and began violin studies at the age of six. By the time he was 15, his musical promise was such that his family moved back to Austria in order for him to study conducting with Karl Osterreicher at the Vienna Academy of Music. He has previously served as the chief conductor and artistic director of the Spanish Radio/Television Orchestra and Choir in Madrid as well as the music director for the Hamburg Symphony, the Stuttgart Philharmonic, Vienna’s Tonnkunsterorchester, and the Anhaltisches Theater in Dessau, Germany. He lives in Portland with his wife, Raffaela, and sons Luca and Claudio.