Carlos Kalmar


Carlos Kalmar is in his eighteenth season as Music Director of the Oregon Symphony. He is also the artistic director and principal conductor of the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

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 TimesNew 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, and “The Spirit of the American Range,” with works by Copland, Piston, and Antheil which received another Best Orchestral Performance Grammy nomination. Of his recent Haydn CD with the Oregon Symphony, Gramophone Magazine” said, “Judging from these performances, taken live, Oregon’s Haydn lovers are well looked after by the Uruguayan but Austrian-trained conductor”. Mr. Kalmar’s latest recording, “Aspects of America” has just been nominated for a 2020 Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance.

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…”

Carlos Kalmar is a regular guest conductor with major orchestras in America, Europe and Asia. Recent engagements have seen him on the podium with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and the New World Symphony, as well as the orchestras of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Houston, Milwaukee, Nashville, Seattle and St. Louis. Last season, Kalmar guest-conducted the Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Symphony (“Carlos Kalmar Leads Thrilling Dallas Symphony performances of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Walton” – Dallas Times headline), the Milwaukee Symphony, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Tampere Orchestra in Finland, the Rochester Philharmonic, the Queensland Symphony in Australia and will tour with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Kalmar is deeply interested in teaching, and is known for his superlative talents leading young musicians. with engagements at the Cleveland Institute of Music, the Yale School of Music, the Juilliard School, the Colburn School, and Indiana University.

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 fifteen 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 with his family in Portland, Oregon.