Carlos Kalmar Continues to Get Good Press in Chicago

August 08, 2010

James Bash from Oregon Music News highlights some of the press Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar received during Grant Park Music Festival's 2010 season.

This summer marks the tenth in which Carlos Kalmar has led the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago, and he has earned the reputation there of having elevated the musical standards of the Grant Park Orchestra and kept classical music up front and center at the festival. The positive notices about Kalmar’s work with the festival have been pretty consistent over the past few years, and John von Rhein, the classical music critic at the Chicago Tribune, has published several several favorable pieces this summer, starting with a festival assessment in June 9th issue. Here are a couple of choice quotes:

“Over the last decade, that music has been in the estimable hands of Carlos Kalmar, the orchestra’s Uruguayan-born Austrian principal conductor.Together with Christopher Bell, the festival’s inspiring chorus director, Kalmar has raised Grant Park’s artistic profile higher than it’s perhaps ever been, while broadening the repertory to include works audiences won’t hear anywhere else.” “Kalmar also has made Grant Park the place to spot talented if relatively unknown conductors and soloists making Chicago debuts before the rest of the world takes notice. The young Finnish violinist Elina Vahala, playing Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” at the season opener on Wednesday, is one of several discoveries that await visitors this summer.”

In an article on August 5th, Bryant Manning in the Chicago Sun-Times gave Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra a positive review for their concert with violinist Christian Tetzlaff in the Dvoark Violin Concerto and for their playing of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony and John Adams’s “Lollapalooza.”

Lawrence Johnson in the Chicago Classical Review also wrote highly of Kalmar and the orchestra in the Tetzlaff-Dvoark and Shostakovich concert (although he found the Adams piece under rehearsed).

Kalmar is scheduled to conduct a few more concerts at the Grant Park Festival. Portlanders might be interested in hearing the Dvorak Requiem (August 13 and 14) because the tenor soloist is Brendan Tuohy, who was a terrific studio artist with Portland Opera. Kalmar will also conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) on August 20 and 21, and that concert will feature soprano Karina Gauvin, who sang very impressively with the Oregon Symphony in May of 2009.

James Bash, Oregon Music News