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Cleveland Institute of Music welcomes new Principal Conductor

Carlos Kalmar is a three-time Grammy nominated musician, and comes to Cleveland after 18 years with the Oregon Symphony.

CLEVELAND — Following a three-year international search, the Cleveland Institute of Music welcomed their newest Principal Conductor and Director of Orchestral and Conducting Programs, Carlos Kalmar, Monday morning. Kalmar was greeted at the school with a small welcoming celebration from students, faculty, trustees, governing members and community dignitaries.

Kalmar comes from the Oregon Symphony, which is where he was the Musical Director for 18 years. The job took him to New York where he performed at Carnegie Hall. He is also the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of Chicago’s Grant Park Music Festival, a position he has held since 2000. We asked him what made Cleveland the right fit for his next endeavor.

"I always knew about the excellence of CIM because as a music director -- especially in the United States -- we have students from there that apply for the jobs," he said.

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Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published on April 12, 2021.

Kalmar's work has taken him around the nation and the world, performing with major orchestras in Europe and Asia, and closer to home in Boston, Chicago and San Francisco, just to name a few. 

"In my entire career, I was always very much in love with the idea that you have to serve the city, the state, the country in which you are actually living. So because I live and work in the United States, for me it kind of goes without saying that I want to play the American music."

Besides his extensive work, Kalmar has three Grammy nominations to his name. Two are for his program Music for a Time of War, nominated for Best Orchestral Performance and Best Engineered Album, Classical. His third, and mort recent nomination, is for the Oregon Symphony album Aspects of America: Pulitzer Edition, which received a nomination in the Best Orchestral Performance category. Both bodies of work were performed with the Oregon Symphony.

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But while he's here, Kalmar is excited to work with budding musicians, and says his first order of business is just to listen to his students and his fellow staff at CIM.

As for sight seeing in Cleveland, Kalmar is excited to visit the Institute's neighboring art scene and explore the Cleveland Art Museum, take in a Cleveland Orchestra concert and support our local arts.

His tenure officially begins on July 1, 2021.

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