Today's guest is Dr. Kalle Toivio who is a Finnish-born American virtuoso concert pianist and organist living in New York City. Dr. Toivio is the winner of the third prize at the 2016 American Guild of Organists National Organ Improvisation Competition held in conjunction with the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston, Texas. In the Semifinal at the 2017 Montreal Organ Festival, Kalle Toivio was chosen as a finalist of the 2018 AGO NCOI, which will be held in conjunction with the 2018 National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kalle Toivio has played organ recitals and performed at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Riverside Church, St. Mary the Virgin and at the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage in Washington D.C. In honor of the Jean Sibelius 150th Anniversary Celebration, Kalle Toivio gave a recital featuring organ music and song cycles of Jean Sibelius together with soprano Sharon Harms at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in November of 2015. This recital was featured in the 2015-2016 Season of 'the Great Music in Great Space's Great Organ Recital Series.' In April of 2016 Kalle Toivio gave a recital at the Central Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, where he improvised an entire organ symphony in four movements, a feat Dr. Toivio repeated at the 2017 Mänttä Music Festival.
Kalle Toivio has toured in Europe, Japan and the United States. He has performed in Television and Radio in Finland, England, Belgium and Austria. In the United States Kalle Toivio has played recitals at the Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago and at the Carnegie Hall. Before moving to the United States, Kalle Toivio performed at numerous Mänttä Music Festivals since their founding in 1999.
Besides being a versatile career as a soloist and a chamber musician, Mr. Toivio is a producer of cultural events and concerts. As the Music Chairman of the Finlandia Foundation New York Chapter, Kalle Toivio arranged and produced the New York Debut Recitals of accordionist Veli Kujala and composer Sampo Haapamäki. Together with Mr. Leland Hoch, Kalle Toivio produced the first full performance of Rautavaara's 'Vigilia' in the United States, conducted by Kent Tritle at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in November of 2016. Dr. Toivio is the founder and Sub-Dean of the Finland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.
Kalle Toivio is the Organist and Director of Music at the Church of Notre Dame in New York City. Before his tenure at the Church of Notre Dame, Mr. Toivio served for five years as the organist of Christ Church Bay Ridge (Episcopal) and served concurrently as the Cantor-Organist of the New York Finnish Lutheran Congregation. Kalle Toivio founded and was the leader of the Christ Church Schola Cantorum. Dr. Toivio is in the organ faculty of Manhattan School of Music Precollege as well as on the Piano Faculty of the Stamford Music Arts Academy.
Kalle Toivio has graduated from the Sibelius Academy with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Church Music as well as Master of Music degree in Piano Performance. After moving to New York City Kalle Toivio continued his organ studies at the Manhattan School of Music. He received a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance and was honored with the Bronson Ragan Award, given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding ability in Organ Performance. For more than seven years Kalle Toivio studied the Art of Organ Playing and Improvisation with the late McNeil Robinson. For almost two decades Kalle Toivio has studied the Art of Piano Playing with Nina Svetlanova.
In May of 2017 Kalle Toivio received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Manhattan School of Music. Dr. Toivio was once again honored with the Bronson Ragan Award. The doctoral dissertation of Dr. Kalle Toivio is on transcriptions for the organ of concertos by Antonio Vivaldi.
In this conversation, Kalle shares his insights about organ improvisation and the great McNeil Robinson tradition.
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