Zoltan Kalman was born in Hungary. He received his training at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Clarinet Performance and Chamber Music in Budapest. After graduation, he spent a year as principal clarinet with the Hungarian State Orchestra, where he played under the baton of such luminaries as Sir George Solti, Giuseppe Patane, Leonard Bernstein and Janos Ferencsik.
From 1983-1989, he served as principal clarinet with the Hungarian Opera House in Budapest. His achievements in the musical field include second prize at the Prague International Clarinet Competition, and several awards with one of Hungary’s foremost woodwind quintets, Aquincum. These include first prize in the 1986 International Chamber Winds Competition in Ancona Italy, as well as the jury’s special award in the 1987 competition in Colmar, France. As a result, the French National Television has produced a documentary program featuring the quintet. In 1988 he received the Hungarian Cultural Ministry’s award “Musician of the year”. He has had several solo and orchestra performances throughout Europe, including Austria, Belgium, France, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Since arriving in Canada, he has appeared as guest soloist with numerous orchestras and ensembles in the area, including the Georgian Bay Symphony, Symphony Hamilton, Niagara Symphony, Cambridge Symphony, Etobicoke Symphony, Boris Brott Music Festival Orchestra, and the Gallery Players.
He joined Trio Canada for a performance of the Weber Clarinet quintet which was broadcast by Toronto’s CJRT. In collaboration with the Niagara Symphony and the St. Catharines based Carousel Players, he performed in Winnipeg, in the National Arts Centre in Ottawa as well as in Vancouver.
Mr. Kalman is principal clarinettist with both, the Niagara Symphony and Symphony on the Bay, and appears regularly with the Brantford Symphony, Mississauga Opera Company and Scarborough Symphony.
In addition to his career as a musician, he has taught Clarinet Performance Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and is currently the clarinet and chamber music instructor at McMaster University in Hamilton, conductor of the University Wind Ensemble at Brock University in St. Catharines, where he teaches clarinet, saxophone and Woodwind Techniques Course as well.
In July, 2019, he was appointed as Director of Music of the Brock University Jazz Ensemble.
October 2006 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising, a defining moment in both, Hungarian and Canadian history. Mr. Kalman was selected by the National Arts Centre as one of the 50 Hungarian-Canadians who have made significant contribution to the cultural life in Canada.
His special portrait has become part of the permanent collection at the Portrait Gallery of Canada in the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.