top of page
Profile Large No Logo.jpeg

Calvin Kotrba, pianist

Recent Performances

Every day, as a pianist, collaborator, student, and teacher, I aim to glorify God by bringing love into people’s hearts and joy into their lives. At the piano, I get to engage with the breathtaking beauty of the Western classical tradition, offer praise to the Lord through hymns, and develop loving relationships with colleagues and students. Music has a special power to connect people to the true, the good, and the beautiful. It is my duty and my joy to share that power with everyone I can, and by so doing make my corner of the world as beautiful as it can be.

Screen Shot 2023-10-08 at 8.28.08 PM.png

Violin Sonata No. 1 in G major, Op. 19

Dedicated to Prof. Elizabeth Oakes

This work for violin and piano is my latest and one of my favorite compositions. Like many of my works, it revolves around a relatively small number of themes, which are manipulated and played with throughout. The sonata quotes from several hymns, and materials from the first movement make their triumphant return at the end. 

2023 Premiere Performance (28:19)

Program Note

For individual parts, please use the "Contact Me" button below.

Featured Compositions
Screen Shot 2023-10-09 at 5.48.04 PM.png

Six Pieces for Young Pianists, Op. 18

Dedicated to Sara Kotrba

This is a set of six teaching and performance pieces for young pianists. The pieces are of increasing difficulty, and there are also piano trio parts for each piece which allow it to be played with violin and cello.  

For the trio parts and score, please use the "Contact Me" button below. 

Screen Shot 2023-03-04 at 10.40.02 PM.png

String Quartet No. 1 in E major, Op. 17

Dedicated to Renee Santos and Sarah Harmon

My most interconnected and expansive composition to date, this string quartet unfolded on the page from a single initial three-note motif. The entire three-movement quartet is based around two themes, creating a journey through a reverent hymn, a frenzied dance, a lost and grief-filled fugue, and a joyful jig. 

Quintantō 2022 Premiere Performance

Program Note

For individual parts, please use the "Contact Me" button below. 

Screen Shot 2021-11-22 at 3.54.20 PM.png

Five Vignettes for Clarinet and Piano, Op. 16

Dedicated to Mary Kotrba

Based on a set of five random words, the Five Vignettes explore a wide variety of rhythmic, tonal, and stylistic conventions. The set begins with Freedom, a fugue inspired by the notes of Aretha Franklin's Think, and continues with Buses, a complex 10/8 etude. The third movement, Shells, showcases the low range of the clarinet, while the fourth, Bunny, is the most programmatic of the bunch. Finally, Blueberry brings the pieces to a joyous conclusion with a rhythmic figure inspired by the word itself. 

For individual parts, please use the "Contact Me" button below.

Screen Shot 2021-11-22 at 3.47.05 PM.png

Smooth between sea and land, Op. 15

for Piano and Baritone/Bass

A setting of the poem of the same name by A.E. Housman, Smooth between sea and land is a melancholy and brooding art song. The vocal range is B2 - E4.

Commissions & full scores

I am a composer of more than twenty works for a variety of ensembles, including string quartet, piano trio, and percussion ensemble; and a variety of instruments, including piano, violin, cello, clarinet, and voice. 

My past commissions have involved writing violin and cello parts to accompany piano works for children, as well as arranging existing music for specific ensembles. 

If you have an idea for a project and would like to request a quote, or would like to request the full score for one of the pieces above, please contact me with the button below!

Screen Shot 2023-06-06 at 2_edited.jpg

     Calvin Kotrba, originally from Minnesota, is beginning his graduate study in piano performance at Longy School of Music of Bard College in Cambridge, MA. He began Suzuki piano lessons at the age of three with his mother, Sara Kotrba, and studied with Dr. Paul Wirth during high school. He was a student of Dr. Ksenia Nosikova at the University of Iowa, where he earned degrees in piano performance and mathematics with highest honors and honors in music. In 2023 he joined the studio of Prof. Gila Goldstein.

     He was the first-prize winner in the 2022-2023 University of Iowa Concerto Competition, as well as winning the concerto competition at the Illinois Summer Piano Institute in summer 2022, where he performed with Sinfonia de Camera under the direction of Dr. Ian Hobson. He has studied at the Wiener MusikSeminar in Vienna, Austria, the Ian Hobson International Piano Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Vivace International Music Festival in Wilmington, NC, where he won the opportunity to perform for acclaimed artist Richard Goode. He was a prize winner in the 2022 Schubert Club Student Scholarship Competition and a first prize winner in the fifth International Moscow Music Competition - Online, and has performed in masterclasses with Seymour Bernstein, Ursula Oppens, John O’Conor, Marina Lomazov, Boaz Sharon, and Svetozar Ivanov.  Since the age of six he has given yearly solo recitals, featuring the works of well-known composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Liszt as well as those of lesser-known artists such as Charles-Valentin Alkan and Dora Pejačević.

     A great lover of chamber music, Calvin has performed with diverse ensembles including piano quintet and quartet; piano trios with violin and cello, violin and horn, and two violins; and violin duo. His groups have received coaching from members of the Brentano, JACK, Harlem, Castalian, Dali, Miró, Apple Hill, and Jasper quartets through the UI’s Chamber Music Residency Program. In spring 2023, he toured the state of Iowa for a second time along with his piano quintet Quintantō, performing the quintets of Dohnányi and Dvořák.

     Throughout his four years at Iowa, Calvin was recognized on the President’s List; as a sophomore he was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society. He is also an organist and violist, as well as a composer who has most recently written works for string quartet, piano and violin, piano and clarinet, and piano trio. Calvin’s love of music is sustained and enriched by his Christian faith. When not playing the piano, he enjoys traveling long distances by train, eating steak, and organizing his schedule. 

bottom of page