Zoltan Kalman was born in Hungary. He received his training at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest. After graduation, he spent a year as principal clarinettist with the Hungarian State Orchestra, where he played under the baton of such luminaries as Sir George Solti, Giuseppe Patane and Leonard Bernstein.
From 1983-1989, he served as principal with the Budapest Opera Orchestra. He was a founding member of one of Hungary's foremost wind quintets, Aquincum. His achievements in the musical field include second prize at the Prague International Clarinet Competition, and several awards with the Aquincum Wind Quintet. These include first prize in the 1986 International Chamber Winds Competition in Ancona, Italy, as well as the jury's special award in the 1987 competition in Colmar, France. As a result the French National television has produced a documentary program featuring the quintet. In 1988 he received the Hungarian Cultural Ministry's award "Musician of the year". He had several solo and orchestra performances throughout Europe, including Austria, Belgium, France, England, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland.
Since arriving in Canada in 1989, he has appeared as guest soloist with numerous orchestras and ensembles in the area, including the Georgian Bay Symphony, Symphony Hamilton, Niagara Symphony, Boris Brott Summer Music Festival Players, and the Gallery Players. He joined Trio Canada for a performance of the Weber Clarinet Quintet which was broadcast by Toronto's CJRT.
In collaboration with the Niagara Symphony and the St. Catharines based Carousel Players, he performed with the Theater Company in the 'Theater for Young People' in Winnipeg in 2005, in the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, as well as in Vancouver in 2006.
Mr. Kalman is principal clarinettist with both the Niagara Symphony, Symphony Hamilton, and appears regularly with the Brantford Symphony, Mississauga Opera Company, and Scarborough Symphony.
In addition to his career as a musician, he also teaches clarinet, saxophone, Woodwind Techniques Course, conducts the Wind Ensemble at Brock University in St. Catharines, and teaches clarinet at McMaster University in Hamilton as well as University of Western Ontario in London. He coaches and conducts the woodwind sections of the Niagara Youth Orchestra.
October 2006 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising, a defining moment in both Hungarian and Canadian history. Mr. Kalman was selected by the National Arts Centre as one of 50 Hungarian-Canadians who have made singular contribution to Canada. His special portrait has become part of the permanent collection at the Portrait Gallery of Canada.