The American pianist, Gilbert Kalish, studied at Columbia College (B.A.) with supplementary studies at Berkshire Music Center and Marlboro Festival. Among his noted teachers were Leonard Shure, Julius Hereford and Isabelle Vengerova.
Gilbert Kalish was a founding member of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble (1962-1979), a pioneering new music group that flourished during the 1960's and 1970's. He has been the pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players (1969-1998), and a member of several other ensembles such as Gramercy Chamber Ensemble, Aeolian Chamber Players, and Penn Contemporary Players (University of Pennsylvania). He is noted for his partnerships with other artists, particularly his thirty-year collaboration with mezzo-soprano Jan DeGaetani, but also including cellists Timothy Eddy and Joel Krosnick, and soprano Dawn Upshaw.
Gilbert Kalish has given solo recitals throughout much of the world. He has appeared at many leading music festivals, such as Mostly Mozart, New York; Brighton and Aldeburgh, England; Ojai, California; Lucerne, Switzerland; Sarasota, Florida; Badenweiler, Germany; Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Netherlands, and many others. Concerto appearances in some of the most significant works of the 20th Century by composers, such as Alban Berg, Luciano Berio, Carter, Messiaen and Igor Stravinsky. He has given numerous concert appearances (about 50 per year) in many of the major world centers including New York concerts at Carnegie, Avery Fisher, Town Hall, 92nd Street "Y", Symphony Space, Tully Hally, Weill, Merkin, Miller Theatre (including the first solo piano recital in this newly renovated Columbia University concert hall). He has made tours of Japan, Europe and South America with the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.
Gilbert Kalish has appeared as as a guest with Boston Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Symphony Orchestra, Greenwich Symphony, Newton Symphony, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Concord Quartet, Emerson Quartet, Fine Arts Quartet, Juilliard Quartet, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, New Jersey Chamber Orchestra, New World String Quartet, New York Woodwind Quintet, Orion String Quartet, Sea Cliff Chamber Players, and Thouvenal String Quartet.
Gilbert Kalish taught at Rutgers University from 1966 to 1969 and at Swarthmore College Associate in Performance from 1966 to 1974. Since 1970 he is Leading Professor and Head of Performance Activities at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. From 1975 to 1979 he taught also at SUNY Purchase. From 1968 to 1997 he was a faculty member of the Tanglewood Music Center and served as the "Chairman of the Faculty" at Tanglewood from 1985 to 1997. He has also served on the faculties of the Banff Centre and the Steans Institute at Ravinia, and is renowned for his master-class presentations.
Gilbert Kalish has a large discography of some 100 recordings, encompassing classical repertory, 20th-century masterworks and new compositions. These include his solo recordings of Charles Ives' Concord Sonata and sonatas of Joseph Haydn, vocal music with Jan DeGaetani and landmarks of the 20th century by composers such as Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Ralph Shapey and Arnold Schoenberg. He made the world premiere recordings of Charles Ives Largo for Violin and Piano, In Re Con Moto et al., Largo Risoluto No. 1 & 2, A Set of Three Short Pieces (mvts: Largo cantabile: Hymn, Scherzo: Holding Your Own, Adagio cantabile: The Innate) and songs The All-Enduring, The Innate, and Song (She is not fair).
Gilbert Kalish has given many first performances, and has had many works written for him (Carter, Crumb, Reynolds, Kupferman, etc.). He gave the first solo piano recital in the newly renovated Miller Theatre at Columbia University. He has received many honours, including three Grammy Award nominations. In 1995 he was presented with the Paul Fromm Award by the University of Chicago Music Department for distinguished service to the music of our time.