Guitarist Keith Calmes has been performing and teaching guitar for over three decades.
His performance credits include a Carnegie Hall recital debut as Winner of the Artists International Competition, concerti with the Monmouth Symphony, a performance with Maestro Carlos Barbosa-Lima and many concerts and recordings with flautist Marjorie Koharski. Keith's passion for new music has led the following composers to write for him: Roger Aldridge, Will Ayton, Timothy Broege, Frank Campo, Ruben Delgado, Jurg Kindle, Chiel Meijering, Jean-Maurice Mourat, Maximo Diego Pujol, Stepan Rak, Kevin Siegfried and Jim Scully. Keith has several solo recordings and duo recordings with Chiel Meijering available at CD Baby and iTunes.
Although usually considered a classical guitarist, Keith's musical diversity can be attested to. He has studied with Jazz master Jim Hall and opened for Surf legend Dick Dale and Flamenco virtuoso Juan Serrano. A deep interest in Indian rhythms has led to serious studies and performances with percussion virtuoso Selvaganesh Vinayakram and his family band. Keith has also played in a wide variety of Jazz and Rock bands.
A natural teacher, Keith is on the music faculty at Wall High School (NJ) and was presented the Outstanding Teacher Award from The College of New Jersey for his work at the high school He is also a faculty member at Monmouth Conservatory of Music at the Count Basie Theatre. Previous positions include teaching at USC, Drury University, Monmouth University, Kean University, Brooklyn College, Harford Community College and Ocean County College. He has also given presentations on guitar history and pedagogy at the national conventions of the Guitar Foundation of America and the American String Teachers Association. He has conducted classes at Salisbury University, California State University Bakersfield and The Kimmel Center,
Keith's compositions, arrangements and performance editions are available from Mel Bay Publications and Guitar Chamber Music Press. His compositions include suites written for Anne-Marie Mulgrew and Dancers Company and the CSU Bakersfield Guitar Ensemble.
Keith has endorsed Godin Guitars and strings and K & K acoustic pickups for many years. He also performs on an experimental custom guitar built by Kristopher Barnett and a 21-string Classical harp guitar built for him by Jim Worland.
Keith earned degrees in Classical Guitar Performance from California State University Northridge, The Juilliard School, and the University of Southern California. He also studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston and Musica en Compostela in Spain. Additional studies with Leo Brouwer, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Eliot Fisk and Oscar Ghiglia were significantly formative experiences.
"...a Master Musician."- Guitar for the Practicing Musician
"...masterful guitar playing."- Philadelphia Classical Music
"...exceptionally tasteful and expressive playing"- Minor 7th
"a classical master...sublimely soothing, yet detail intensive"- Red Bank Orbit
"Diverse performing skills...extremely well played...very listenable"- Classical Guitar Magazine
"Varied and innovative...a real artist, his primary concern is the music, first and foremost." The Aquarian
"Daring dynamics and intense energy added an appealing, explosive quality to the recital."
- Guitar Player Magazine
"A fine American guitarist doing heroic works in the trenches."- Maestro Eliot Fisk