Peter Calandra

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Peter Calandra
Peter Calandra.jpg
Background information
Born Brooklyn, New York
Origin Northport, New York
Occupation(s) Composer, Musician, Conductor
Instruments Piano, Guitar
Associated acts The BlanX

Peter Calandra is a New York City based composer and pianist. He is most well known for his work composing music for film and television as well as conducting and playing piano in Broadway and Off Broadway productions. He holds a Master's Degree in Music Composition from Queens College, City University of New York.[1]



Calandra has played keyboard as part of a pit orchestra for a variety of musicals. Some of the Broadway musicals he is known for include Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, and the Phantom of the Opera. He not only performed in but also served as conductor and musical director for the original New York City production of Little Shop of Horrors.[1]


Calandra has scored over 40 films.[2] For film scores and compositions, Calandra uses a variety of instrumentation and styles. He has stated that most of the film music he writes "has a combination of orchestral, choral, piano, ethnic and electronic elements..." but he often alters his approach for certain films. As an example, for his score for Pat XO, an ESPN documentary on college basketball coach Pat Summitt, Calandra's score is based on acoustic guitars and live percussion. Calandra stated that for this score, he creating a "roots oriented," "small ensemble" sound to match the down-to-earth qualities of the film.[3]

One of Calandra's most well-known works his is score for the 2004 film Unknown Soldier by director Ferenc Tóth. For this score, which primarily features instrumental jazz, Calandra performed with saxophonist Dale Kleps, trumpeter Bud Burridge, bassist Kermit Driscoll, and drummer Howard Joines.[4] Dr. Ana Isabel Ordonez of jazzReview praised the recording, stating that "Unknown Soldier's jazz score highlights bravery and the human social fracture in our society."[5]

In 2011, Calandra composed music for the film Rise. Commissioned by U.S. Figure Skating, the film commemorates the U.S. figure skating team who were killed in the 1961 crash of Sabena Flight 548. Calandra composed an orchestral score as well as an original song which plays during the opening title sequence of the film.[6]


Calandra's television composition credits include projects for the National Geographic Society, Sesame Workshop, ABC-Touchstone, NBC, Fox Sports, A&E, and Discovery Communications. He also written a large amount of themes for television broadcast, including theme packages for ESPN, Bravo, Comcast SportsNet, MSG, SportsNet New York, and the Big Ten Network.[1]


In his career as a pianist, Calandra has performed with musical artists and orchestras including The New York Pops, jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, trumpeter Don Cherry, soul singer Aretha Franklin, poet Allen Ginsberg, and actress/singer Annie Golden. He also spent many years as a keyboard player in New York City based artist Larry Rivers' "Climax Band."[1]

Selected Discography[edit]

Year Album details
2004 Sunrise Over New York
  • Label: PCM
2006 Unknown Soldier Soundtrack
2008 Jellysmoke Soundtrack
2009 Late Night Christmas
  • Label: PCM
2011 Satya
2013 Ashokan Memories
  • Label: PCM
2014 Inner Circle
  • Label: PCM
2015 First Light
  • Label: PCM
2017 The Road Home
  • Label: PCM

Selected Filmography[edit]

Year Film details
2002 13th Child
  • Composed score
2004 Unknown Soldier
  • Composed score
2005 Jellysmoke
  • Composed score
2010 Unmatched
  • Composed score
2011 Rise
  • Composed score and original song
2012 BearCity 2: The Proposal
  • Composed score
2013 Pat XO
  • Composed score
2014 41 on 41
  • Composed score
2015 Coach Bernie
  • Composed score


  • 2016 New York Festivals: "Finalist Award Winner, Best Music/Lyrics" for "ESPN Special Olympics World Games Theme"
  • 2016 One World Music: "Best Piano With Instrumentation" for "First Light"
  • 2005 Los Angeles Film Festival, for Jellysmoke
  • 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival, for Unknown Soldier
  • 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival, for Unknown Soldier


  1. ^ a b c d e "Biography for Peter Calandra". IMDb., Inc. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Peter Calandra". LinkedIn. LinkedIn Corporation. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Young, Robyn (15 April 2013). "Peter Calandra Scores ESPN’s ‘Pat XO’ – Showing at 2013 Tribeca Film Fest". Film Music Magazine. Global Media Online, Inc. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Unknown Soldier - Unknown Soldier". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Ordonez, Dr. Ana Isabel (13 September 2005). "Unknown Soldier by Peter Calandra". jazzReview. Retrieved 15 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Composer Peter Calandra and the feature film "Rise"". Film Music Magazine. Global Media Online, Inc. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2013. 

External links[edit]