Carlos Kalmar Extends With Grant Park Through 2024, Will Step Down After

By Keegan Morris |

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Conductor Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra.

Conductor Carlos Kalmar leads the Grant Park Orchestra (Photo: Patrick Pyszka)

A fixture of the Grant Park Music Festival since 1998, Carlos Kalmar has extended his contract as the festival’s principal conductor and artistic director through 2024. Upon the completion of this contract, a Grant Park Music Festival statement announces, Kalmar will step down from these roles and will don the title of conductor laureate.

The Uruguayan-born artist was appointed principal conductor of the festival in 2000, and gained the title of artistic director in 2011; the conclusion of his tenure in 2024 will mark his 25th season leading the festival and will coincide with the festival’s 90th anniversary. 2021 concluded Kalmar’s nearly 20 years as music director of the Oregon Symphony; in May, he was named director of Orchestral & Conducting Programs and principal conductor of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Over the course of his time with the festival, Kalmar has greatly contributed to the growth of the festival’s profile and renown. “I am so grateful for the extraordinary artistic partnership I have had with the Festival,” Kalmar reflects, “and will always love this orchestra and chorus, along with the audiences of Chicago.”

This summer, Carlos Kalmar will be back in Chicago leading the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, returning to the city after a year away. Among the highlights of the truncated festival season, Maestro Kalmar will conduct the opening night Independence Day Salute, lead performances of music by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart, and welcome guest artists like Augustin Hadelich, Joyce Yang, Vadim Gluzman, and Anthony Trionfo. Kalmar will also conduct works by contemporary composers, including Gabriela Lena Frank, Margaret Brouwer, and Anna Clyne. Many of these standout performances will be broadcast live on WFMT.