Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Kallor, Gregg (Ian)
Kallor, Gregg (Ian), piano; b. Cleveland, OH, 20 January 1978. He grew up in West Hartford, CT from the time he was six months old. His mother is Susan Kallor (b. 1947, Brooklyn, NY) and his father is Allen Kallor (b. 1948, Manhattan, NY). His brother is Scott Kallor (b. 1973, Plainview, Long Island, NY).
He's studied with Kenny Barron (1996-1997), Cecil McBee (1997-1998), Michael Cain (1997-1998), Frank Carlberg (1998-1999), Fred Hersch (1998-present) and Sophia Rosoff (2000-present).
Critics started taking notice of pianist and composer Kallor a long time ago. Before graduating from high school, he had already performed at the White House and toured Europe twice. He is now professionally based in New York City.
Even as a toddler playing the piano, it was clear that Kallor possessed uncommon musical talent. By the age of five, he was able to recall and perform many musical themes he heard just once in movies and on the radio. After a decade of classical training, Kallor found himself captivated by improvised music. The combination of his already formidable technical keyboard talents and his love of jazz led to full time study at Rutgers University with Kenny Barron, and later at the New England Conservatory of Music with Fred Hersch. Hersch, with whom Kallor continues to study, says: "Gregg Kallor is a young pianist and composer who definitely merits close attention."
Kallor's playing and composing reveal profound emotional depth. "Kallor can carry a poetic mood right to the edge of sorrow, always sounding lyrical and moving without ever slipping into the lachrymose." Audiences are responding with great enthusiasm to Kallor and his bandmates at venues in the Northeastern United States, including Cleopatra's Needle, the Cornelia Street Cafe, and Steinway Hall in New York; the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, Connecticut; and Blues Alley in Washington, D.C.
There is a rich tradition of musicality in Gregg Kallor's family, dating back several generations. Perhaps his greatest familial influence was his maternal grandmother. A violinist and a child prodigy, she was awarded the gold medal in a competition at Carnegie Hall when she was ten years old. Although she did not pursue a performing career, her passion for music never diminished and she lovingly encouraged her grandson in his own musical pursuits.
Kallor began playing the piano at the age of four. With a baby grand piano in the Connecticut house in which he grew up (and a string tied around the fallboard to prevent it from crushing his young hands), he naturally gravitated towards the instrument, recalling melodies he had heard on a recording or in a movie. Even at this young age, it was clear that Kallor possessed uncommon musical talent. At six, he began studying formally with a local piano teacher, under whose tutelage and warm encouragement Kallor's innate talent rapidly blossomed into formidable skill. Though his studies introduced him to the classics of piano music repertoire, he harbored an affinity for many different kinds of music and displayed a propensity for improvising themes of his own.
After a decade of classical training, Kallor found himself captivated by improvised music. Continuing his classical studies, he sought instruction from a jazz piano teacher to further his education in this new idiom. Gaining invaluable experience in a big band setting and many small ensembles (performing at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in 1994, the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz in 1996, and at the White House in 1995), his high school music career proved to be a prodigious one. Kallor's playing and composing skills earned him many accolades; by the time he graduated, he had received several first place prizes and judge's choice awards at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival.
After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, Kallor moved to New York City to pursue a career in jazz. Continuing to work with Hersch, he also began studying with Sophia Rosoff, the renowned piano teacher who is sought out by many of the world's best pianists (in any genre). The match was perfect and Kallor resumed his classical studies with newfound enthusiasm, discovering a renewed passion for the music he had first loved.
There's A Rhythm (2001)
Radio and television broadcasts:
Radio: station interview on WWUH October 24, 2002
TV: a February, 2002 concert is broadcast from time to time on West Hartford, CT Public Access Television
Owen McNalley in the October 17, 2002 edition of The Hartford Courant
DaveNathan, August 23, 2002 on the All About Jazz Website
1996 Down Beat Best Jazz Soloist, Best Original Composition, Best Jazz Arrangement, Best Jazz Combo
1996 Honorable Mention from National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts
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