Stephen Kalm — School of Fine Arts
As a child, Stephen Kalm could read music before he could read words. Kalm was only 7 when he showed up for the first audition of his career, at the San Francisco Boys Chorus. Once accepted, he simply started singing – he sang in concerts, symphonies and operas, and later in high school musicals.
Kalm entered the University of California, Berkeley, as a pre-law student, but he soon gravitated toward the musical side of campus. Following his passion, he finished his undergraduate study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Kalm then left for New York City, where he financed his master’s degree at Queens College by working night shifts as an orderly in a hospital. (“I sometimes sang lullabies to the patients,” he says.)
In New York, Kalm’s career took off. Before long, he was singing in Bogota, Paris, London, Berlin and other world cities. After four years of teaching at Queens College, Kalm also discovered he had an affinity for instruction. In 1994, the world-class baritone applied for a position at UM. Fifteen years later, Kalm leads a team of nationally and internationally acclaimed faculty as the interim dean for the School of Fine Arts.
“It’s a great joy,” he says. “The students at the University are tremendously excited about making music and growing as artists.” Kalm values the closeness he has with them. “It’s very gratifying,” he says. “You become their mentor, confidant, sometimes their confessor, as well as their pedagogue.”
When he sings, Kalm’s goal is to communicate with an audience so directly that the lyrics bypass their brains and go straight to their hearts. He doesn’t take it lightly.
“An audience is entrusting their imaginations and hearts and minds to you,” he says. “I have a great responsibility to deliver them a dynamic live performance.”