Kallor is a true craftsman of American art song...If “The Tell-Tale Heart” wasn’t proof enough, these songs show that he excels as a miniaturist, creating vivd worlds and characters in mere minutes.
a rising star in the music world...Kallor achieved a perfect balance of text and music...Kallor’s music is a most interesting synthesis of elements of classical and jazz, galvanized into a singular compositional voice. There is plenty of heartfelt lyricism in his music, yet also enough complexity to keep it intriguing for those of us who seek more.
[Kallor] writes music of unaffected emotional directness. Leavened with flashes of oddball humor, his works succeed in drawing in the listener - not as consumer or worshipful celebrant, but in a spirit of easygoing camaraderie.
A pianist and composer who deftly balances modern-classical and jazz-inspired impulses in his handsomely constructed, approachable and engaging works.
Audacity informed everything about this performance... This is a composer I look forward to following.
It’s my guess that everyone in attendance came away from this night feeling that this had been an extraordinary experience.
Kallor’s music is equally Straussian in scale and emotional impact.The seamless interplay between classical and jazz were Kallor’s alone.
Kallor’s sterling artistry and riveting sense of theater made this October journey to Hell and back an experience to savor.
I can’t think of a better opera [than Kallor’s “The Tell-Tale Heart”] to become a new Halloween tradition.
The observations in the words, and the depth of feeling in the music were extremely powerful.... the monster’s anguished monologue [from Frankenstein] that encompasses so much of the story’s larger themes could easily be a ‘scena’ to perform in recitals... Singers are augmenting their standard romantic-era Schubert/Schumann/Wolf repertoire in any number of ways, and the penetrating dramatic truths of “Frankenstein” might co-exist with 19th-century lieder more easily than one might think.As a soloist, Kallor played a Bernstein tribute titled “The Answer Is: Yes,” and if you braced yourself for West Side Story clichés, you were happily surprised with an extravagant fantasy... that showed just how fine of a pianist Kallor is.
Kallor’s efficient, multi-faceted score [The Tell-Tale Heart] runs the gamut, from intimate confession through mounting paranoia to ultimate terror… a tour de force of contemporary music drama.
Kallor mesmerizes until he terrifies.
Amid Kallor’s jazz-inflected sound world, a lyrical grace threaded through the five cohesive movements [of “Some Not Too Distant Tomorrow”]. The music seemed to distill complex ruminations into a clear vision… Floating, sunkissed passages swam with underlying tension… The final movement left the audience with a peaceful atmosphere, weaving an elegant veil of serene tones – a satisfying nexus between social conflict and art.
The main event was the world premiere of “Some Not Too Distant Tomorrow,” a piano quintet conceived as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. With the composer at the piano, the quartet dug into the first movement, ‘The Fierce Urgency of Now’, its angularity and syncopations reflecting the strength in King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Later came blues-infused melodies floating over alluring pizzicato ostinatos alternating with bristling, rapid energy. The fifth movement, which gives the work its title, comes from King’s 1963 ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail’, and in its granitic, complex chords, left a mood of optimism in its wake.
[“Some Not Too Distant Tomorrow”] incorporates modern melodic and jazz ideas in a flawless fusion of sounds, reflecting the tension, unease and tragedy of Dr. King’s too-brief life… The slow final movement was the best of all. Here, slow, hypnotic chords and gentle string melodies forged a gentle, hopeful cloak of sound, a light and transparent comfort in these dark times.
Kallor’s and Zabala’s magical performance shrunk the hall to the size of an intimate club… The highlight of the evening was the final section, “Exhilaration,” a song-cycle of nine poems by Emily Dickinson. The duo performed them without pause, and their delivery was spectacular… This provided a mesmerizing conclusion to a concert where everything the performers touched turned into gold.