Gilbert Kalish

American pianist. Born in 1935. Studied at Columbia College, Berkshire Music Center and Marlboro Festival. Among his noted teachers were Leonard Shure, Julius Hereford and Isabelle Vengerova.


In 1962, Kalish was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. Since 1969, He has been the pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players and a member of several other ensembles, such as Gramercy Chamber Ensemble, Aeolian Chamber Players, and Penn Contemporary Players. He is noted for his partnerships with mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani, cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnick, soprano Dawn Upshaw, and many others.

Kalish has given solo recitals throughout much of the world, and He has appeared at many leading music festivals (USA, England, Switzerland,Germany, Netherlands, Japan, South America, and many others). He has also appeared as a guest with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, Greenwich Symphony, Newton Symphony, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Concord Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Fine Arts Quartet, Juilliard Quartet, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Chamber Orchestra, New World String Quartet, New York Woodwind Quintet, Orion String Quartet, Sea Cliff Chamber Players, and Thouvenal String Quartet.

Kalish taught at Rutgers University (1966-1969) and at Swarthmore College Associate in Performance (1966-1974). Since 1970, he is Leading Professor and Head of Performance Activities at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He also taught at SUNY Purchase (1975-1979).He was a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Centre (1968-1997), and served as the “Chairman of the Faculty” at Tanglewood (1985-1997). He has also served on the faculties of the Banff Centre and the Steans Institute at Ravinia, and is renowned for his master-class presentations.


Kalish has a large discography of some 100 recordings, encompassing classical repertory, 20th-century masterworks and new compositions. These include his solo recordings of Charles Ives’ Concord Sonata and sonatas of Joseph Haydn, vocal music with Jan DeGaetani and landmarks of the 20th century by composers such as Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Ralph Shapey and Arnold Schoenberg. He made the world premiere recordings of Charles Ives’ Largo for Violin and Piano, In Re Con Moto et al., Largo Risoluto No. 1 & 2, A Set of Three Short Pieces.

Kalish has given many first performances, and has had many works written for him. He gave the first solo piano recital in the newly renovated Miller Theatre at Columbia University. He has received many honours, including three Grammy Award nominations. In 1995 he was presented with the Paul Fromm Award by the University of Chicago Music Department for distinguished service to the music of our time.

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