Michael Kallstrom



(updated 8-6-13)

and Mp3 examples

(updated 8-19-13)

Michael Kallstrom has been composing and performing multi-media art works for over 25 years. The works of his Electric Opera series have been performed over 200 times and combine singing, acting, audio and visual media, and puppetry. His music has been performed on all seven continents, including Antarctica. His compositions include an opera, "Sunday Pages," on an original libretto, and an electronic ballet score for a new version of "Frankenstein."


Kallstrom grew up in a musical family that sang together for entertainment, improvising their own harmonies. Early health problems stemming from birth defects drew him to the internal world of music and art. Lessons in piano and drawing had him composing and making things at a young age. Growing up in Miami (FL), he played keyboards and sang in rock, country, disco and jazz ensembles.


After deciding to pursue music rather than visual art in college, he studied composition at the University of Miami. He played on a cruise ship for a year before going on to earn a Master's degree at the University of North Carolina where he studied with Roger Hannay.  At Florida State University, he studied with John Boda for his doctorate in composition.  A full time teaching job took him to Westminster Choir College in Princeton (NJ), although he lived in the New York City area to take advantage of the vibrant arts community. Teaching finally brought him to Western Kentucky University where he is now Coordinator of Composition and Theory and a University Distinguished Professor, the institution's first in the performing or visual arts.


Having created and performed six Electric Operas, Kallstrom continues to produce interdisciplinary works. Recent interests include animated videos, created by the composer and making use of iPhone and iPad drawing apps, that serve as catalysts for his vocal improvisations, sung over processed audio tracks. Other projects include the release of a second CD of his flute chamber music and an orchestra work to be premiered in China.

ELECTRIC OPERA, a series of five, solo vocal works with electronic tape, puppets and videos, have been performed over 200 times in the United States and Canada for colleges and universities, festivals and concert series, public schools and churches. Clcik on the links for more information about STORIES, STAINED LIGHT, INTO THE DEEP, GHOSTS!!  and TELL ME YOUR NAME. A children's opera, SCHOOL'S OUT, was commissioned and premiered by McNeill Elementary School as part of musical residency with the school.

In 2010, Kallstrom premiered the sixth ELECTRIC OPERA that includes live vocal and instrumental performers, dancer, improvisation, electronic music and animated video created by the composer based on poems about sleep and dreams called LIFE IS DREAMING
(click to go to the works page to hear and see exceprts).
(click to see animation stills from the videos)

Michael Kallstrom has been named University Distinguished Professor at
Western Kentucky University. He is the first professor

in the performing or visual arts to receive this distinction.

His compositions (click to see the latest updates) include chamber, choral, orchestral and band works. Some of these works have been released oncompact discs by Centaur Records, Edizioni della Foundazione (www.lemur-music.com), Capstone Recordings, and TAHQ (www.osmun.com). His music is published by RM Williams Publishing.


His ballet score, FRANKENSTEIN, was premiered by the Fort Wayne Ballet in September 2002 and was produced again in 2003.FORWARD DRIVE, an electronic score, was choreographed and premiered in Atlanta at Emory University for the American College Dance Festival. The TransAtlantic Horn Quartet commissioned and premiered STARFLAME in London, England and also performed it for the Tanglewood Summer Music Festival and the Benjamin Britten/Peter Pears Music Festival. The Quartet also commissioned and premiered HEADBANGER.

The Macon Symphony and the TransAtlantic Horn Quartet premiered JEEPERS for horn quartet and string orchestra. And SOULS MADE OF MUSIC, for bass voice and horn quartet, was premiered by Kallstrom and the TAHQ for the International Horn Society.

As a Commissioned Western Kentucky University Centennial Composer, his work for soprano and orchestra, ONE SONG FAR AWAY, was commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. Allan Pribble and was premiered by the Bowling Green-Western Symphony in
April 2006 (click here to see the centennial composers).


Michael Kallstrom has won prizes in the Alienor International Harpsichord Composition Contest, the Composers Guild of New Jersey New Works Competition, the James Madison University Flute Choir Composition Contest, the McNeese State University Composer's Competition, and the North Carolina Concerto Competition. He has received a Meet the Composer grant, three Kentucky Arts Council Fellowships, A Ragdale Foundation Residency, a Ucross Foundation Residency, an Interarts Colony Residency, a University Award for Outstanding Faculty Achievement in Research/Creative Activity, and has twice been the Kentucky Music Teachers Association/MTNA Commissioned Composer of the Year.

My dear friend of some 25 years and former teacher, Roger Hannay, died in February 2006. He was a truly great American composer and musician. He will long be remembered by his family, friends, students, colleagues and anyone fortunate enough to have heard his music.

Go to the music theory page (WKU students)

To learn about Michael Kallstrom's hobby, Ham Radio, click here. 73 de NU4Q.

Department of Music
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY 42101
270-745-5400, office
270-745-6855, fax

email: michael.kallstrom@wku.edu

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