Violinist Igor Kalnin has performed internationally as a soloist, chamber musician, and an orchestra leader. A native of Russia, he started his professional career as a faculty member at Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, and later joined Chamber Orchestra Kremlin in Moscow. After relocating to the United States in 2004, he served as Violin Instructor at Yale University and a leader for several orchestras on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Presently, he is Assistant Professor of Violin at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and Concertmaster of Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois. During the summer season, he teaches at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, where he also serves as Concertmaster of Blue Lake Festival and Opera Orchestras and conducts Advanced Chamber Orchestra.
He is a prizewinner of a number of international and national violin and chamber music competitions in the United States, Europe, and Russia. As a soloist, he performed in prestigious venues around the world, such as Slovak National Theater in Bratislava, Slovakia and the Golden Hall at Musikverein in Vienna, Austria. The News-Gazette praised his solo playing for the “full rich tone, … exquisite taste, and admirable skill.” His orchestral collaborations included Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Kostroma Symphony, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, Jackson Symphony (MI), Salisbury Symphony (MD), Chamber Orchestra Turkistan, Blue Lake Festival Orchestra, Rose Chamber Orchestra, and Luther College Symphony and Chamber Orchestras among others. As a recitalist and chamber musician, he traveled in Europe, Asia, and America, with appearances in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York, Rachmaninov Hall at Moscow Conservatory in Russia, and Organ Hall at Uzbekistan State Conservatory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. His live solo and chamber music performances have been broadcasted on radio and TV stations in Russia and the United States, including numerous live performances on Blue Lake Public Radio.
An avid proponent of modern music, he commissioned and premiered works by composers from various cultures and backgrounds, including prominent African-American composers Jeffrey Mumford and James Lee III, celebrated Uzbek woman composer Dilorom Saidaminova, and rising award-winning Russian composer Anton Prischepa among others. Together with pianist Rochelle Sennet, he founded Duo MemDi, a forefront chamber group, which focuses on performing repertoire by memory and increasing diversity in the world of classical music by commissioning and performing music of underrepresented composers. Their first recording project “Gathering Shatters” was released on Albany Records in the Fall of 2018. The recording highlights a few of the many approaches to incorporating folk music elements in modern classical music, featuring works from the standard repertoire and newly commissioned compositions. He is also a member of Luther College Piano Quartet, which has been performing and giving masterclasses in the Midwest area.
Throughout his career, he has been passionate about teaching students of all ages. His college and pre-college students have won regional, state, and international competitions, and were accepted to prestigious music programs. As a clinician, he has given masterclasses at universities and conservatories throughout the United States and internationally. He is a co-founder of the educational project “The Art of Orchestral Playing” at Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The original idea of the project was to introduce undergraduate and graduate Russian students to the requirements and standard repertoire for auditions in American orchestras, but the range and focus of topics expanded quickly and has included the place of classical music and musicians in the twenty-first century, outreach, and psychology of public performance. He has been giving lectures, masterclasses, and recitals for the project since 2012.
An experienced orchestral musician, he performs regularly as Concertmaster of Sinfonia da Camera in Urbana, Illinois and Blue Lake Festival and Opera Orchestras in Michigan during the summer season. Previously, he has served as Concertmaster of Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and The Prairie Ensemble, as well as Principal Second Violinist of Lansing Symphony and Waterbury Symphony Orchestras. In addition, he performed as Guest Concertmaster for a number of professional orchestras in Russia and the United States.
Dr. Kalnin holds an undergraduate diploma with distinction from Balakirev Music College, as well as graduate and post-graduate diplomas with distinction from Glinka State Conservatory in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. In the United States, he has earned an Artist Diploma from Yale University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Michigan State University. His teachers include Felix Forschtock, Galy Afanasiev, Hyo Kang, and Walter Verdehr.