Dr. Kalle Toivio is a Finnish-American virtuoso concert organist and pianist living in New York City. He won first prize in the prestigious American Guild of Organists National Competition in Organ Improvisation held in conjunction with the 2018 AGO National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
Organist and Director of Music at the Church of Notre Dame in New York City, Dr. Kalle Toivio previously served as the organist of Christ Church Bay Ridge (Episcopal) for five years and served concurrently as the Cantor-Organist of the New York Finnish Lutheran Congregation. He founded and was the leader of the Christ Church Schola Cantorum. Dr. Toivio is on the organ faculty of Manhattan School of Music Precollege as well as on the piano faculty of the Stamford Music Arts Academy.
In addition to performing as both soloist and chamber musician, Dr. Toivio produces cultural events and concerts. As the Music Chairman of the New York Chapter of the Finlandia Foundation, he arranged and produced the New York debut recitals of accordianist Veli Kujala and composer Sampo Haapamäki. Together with Mr. Leland Hoch, he 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 2016.
Also the founder and sub-Dean of the Finland Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Dr. Toivio has played organ recitals and performed at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Riverside Church, the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, and at the Kennedy Center Millenium Stage in Washington D.C. For the 150th anniversary celebration of Jean Sibelius, Kalle Toivio gave a recital of Sibelius’s organ music and song cycles together with soprano Sharon Harms at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in the Great Music in a Great Space organ recital series. In 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 in the Myra Hess Memorial Concert Series in Chicago and at Carnegie Hall. Before moving to the United States, Kalle Toivio performed at numerous Mänttä Music Festivals.
Dr. Kalle Toivio graduated from the Sibelius Academy with Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in church music as well as a Master of Music degree in piano performance. At the Sibelius Academy his principal teachers were Hui-Ying Liu-Tawastjerna and Matti Raekallio in piano performance, Ville Urponen in organ performance, Timo Kiiskinen and Juhani Haapasalo in liturgical music, and Pekka Suikkanen in organ improvisation. After moving to New York City, Dr. Toivio continued his organ and conducting studies at Manhattan School of Music, where he received his Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in organ performance and was honored with the Bronson Ragan Award twice, given to an individual who has demonstrated outstanding ability in organ performance. His doctoral dissertation is on transcriptions for the organ of concertos by Antonio Vivaldi. Kalle Toivio has continued his organ studies with James David Christie and organ improvisation with David Briggs.
For more than seven years Kalle Toivio studied the art of organ playing and improvisation with the legendary McNeil Robinson (1943–2015). For almost two decades Kalle Toivio has studied the art of piano playing with Nina Svetlanova.
Manhattan School of Music Precollege faculty since 2015.