Born on July 4, 1960 in Baden-Baden, Germany, Heinrich von Kalnein has lived in Austria for almost 30 years, where he figures among the most highprofile musical personalities.
After working in a German publishing house (Athenäum Verlag) as a management trainee in the years 1980 – 1982 he moved to Graz, Austria to study at the prestigious University of Music with teachers Karlheinz Miklin and Carl Drewo. During that time he enjoyed working with saxophonist John Surman, Swiss bigbandleader and composer George Gruntz and singers Bobby McFerrin and Sheila Jordan (‚The Holy Grail Of Jazz & Joyʼ 1985) and the late Gil Evans (Wiener Musikgalerie 1984). Since his graduation in 1987 (with summa con laude) and master classes with David Liebman and Oliver Lake, he has lived and worked as a freelance musician, high-profile soloist, bandleader, producer and composer/ arranger as well as universityteacher.
1986 - 1992 he co-lead the experimental jazztrio ‘X-tra' together with Austrian keyboarder Uli Rennert and Swedish trumpeter Lars Lindvall. They produced two LP/cdʼs and performed on several clubtours and concerts (Austria, Switzerland) including the Austrian festival ‚Styriarteʼ. 1990 - 94 he was a member of the Austrian co-op band 'The Quartet' (with guitarist / composer Gernot Wolfgang (Peter OʼMara), Austrian bass-legend Ewald Oberleitner and drummer Klaus Hofer). They toured all over Europe (Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, France (EBU festival Vienne) Croatia and Slovenija), played several festivals and produced two cd's on the Austrian label 'Extraplatte'.
The Austrian newspaper DER STANDARD wrote among others: „One of the most polished saxophonists of the Austrian scene, Heinrich von Kalnein knows how to produce both high impact jazz and masterful lines with a lyrical feel. Warmly recommended!..." 1994 - 2002 he co-lead the first-duo, then-trio ‘Free Winds' together with German saxophonist / Nadaswaramplayer Roland Schaeffer and Indian percussionist Jatinder Thakur. Together they produced two cd's (one featuring 'Shakti' percussionist, kanjiraplayer Selva Vinayakram) and toured (among many clubgigs they performed at the Jazzfest Wien and Odenwaldfestival (Guru-Guru) Europe as well as India (1996 and 1997) and Sri Lanka (1997).
1994 - 2001 he was leading his own Heinrich Von Kalnein Group, which included some of Europe‘s finest musicians, e.g. Austrian vibist Woody Schabata, Hungarian pianist Emil Spanyi, German bassists Achim Tang and Henning Sieverts and Austrian drummer Christian Salfellner playing several concerttours through Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. Their first cd ‚New Directionsʼ (1995) was nominated for the prestigious ‚Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritikʼ. For their second cd 'Perfect World' (1998) he invited French guitarist / composer Nguyén Lé and performed with him in Magdeburg (Festival ‚Diagonaleʼ 1996) and Graz.
2002 he produced ‘Blackbird - The Lennon / McCartney Songbook' paying reference to his personal ‚standardsʼ. This production, which included among others trombonist / composer Ed Neumeister and Brazilian percussionist Luis Ribeiro, led to several tours, which included Austrian pianist Fritz Pauer, bassist Wayne Darling, drummer John Hollenbeck and keyboarder Uli Rennert. Between 2002 and 2008 he played several concerttours in a quartet lineup featuring keyboarder Uli Rennert, bassist Wayne Darling and drummer Chistian Salfellner.
Since 2003 he co-leads JBBG - Jazz Bigband Graz together with trumpeter / composer and vocalist Horst-Michael Schaffer. They performed with the vocal groups ‚Take Sixʼ and ‚The New York Voicesʼ as well as singers Jon Hendricks and Kurt Elling. Their 2005 production ‚Joys & Desiresʼ on the German Intuition label (Allegro) featured the compositional work of drummer John Hollenbeck and vocalist Theo Bleckmann. It got critical acclaim worldwide and led among others to performances at the 2006 IAJE Conference in New York as well as the Northsea Jazzfestival 2006.
In 2008 they released their album ‘Electric Poetry & Lo-Fi Cookies' combining the musical world of the bigband with such diverse influences as Minimal, African music and electronics thus streching the musical boundaries of the genre even further. Bigbandleader Maria Schneider wrote:“...spectacularly done! Fantastic music, incredible production, evocative, beautiful and so creative...”. With this program they played several tours and festivals (Austria, Germany (jazzahead 2008, Jazz Baltica 2009, St.Ingbert 2009), Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia). Early in 2010 they released a critical acclaimed Live DVD ‚Live @ Jazz Balticaʼ. In the same year they present their follow-up program ‚Urban Folktales...And A Rose!ʼ at the festivals JazzFest Berlin (opener), Weilheim, Germany and Graz (Austrian Soundcheck).
2004 – 2007 he led the ensemble ‚Songlinesʼ featuring Polish singer Marek Balata, German bassist Achim Tang, keyboarder Uli Rennert as well as Swiss drummer / electronic musician Gregor Hilbe (JBBG). They recorded one album for the Swiss TCB – label (2007) and played several concerts including the Austrian festival Snow-Jazz Gastein.
Following an invitation of the Austrian festival promoter Folke Tegetthoff for his festival ‚Fabelhaftʼ in 2007 he starts his new trio KAHIBA featuring Swiss drummer / electronic musician Gregor Hilbe as well as Austrian accordeonist / pianist Christian Bakanic spanning three generations. They release their first cd ‚Global Dialectsʼ late in 2009 leading to concerttours and an ongoing collaboration with Austrian Jeunesse – Musikalische Jugend.
As sideman he played in several bigbands including the Peter Herbolzheimer Rhythm Combination & Brass (1985 TV-show with Alfred Biolek and guest artists Falco and Chaka Khan), Nouvelle Cuisine (which won the prestigious Austrian ‚Hans Koller Preisʼ in 1998 for their cd ‚Ultimate Sentencesʼ) and the Vienna Art Orchestra (CD ‚All That Straussʼ 2000), for which he worked as well as recording supervisor / producer for six cd (TV) – productions between 1997 and 2007.
He is a founding-member of the Jazz Bigband Graz, which was initiated in 1999 by his KUG collegue Austrian saxophonist / bigband leader Sigi Feigl. Under Sigiʼs direction he recorded two cdʼs and played several concerts featuring several high-profile artists such as Bob Brookmeyer, Bob Mintzer, Herb Pomeroy and Peter Herborn.
With German harpist / composer Rüdiger Oppermann he worked between 1988 and 1993, recorded three LPʼs / cdʼs and played numerous clubconcerts as well as several festivals mostly in Germany (including Alte Oper Frankfurt). In 1989 Rüdiger established the ‚Sommermusikfestʼ, a stylisticilly wide-open worldmusic camp / workshop, where he taught every summer for 13 years solid. (It was there where he met his ‚Free Windsʼ partners Roland Schaeffer and Jatinder Thakur as well as numerous other international recording artists from the at that time up-and-coming worldmusic scene.)
With Israelian / Austrian singer Timna Brauer and Israelian keyboarder Eli Meiri he recorded their program ‚Mozart Andersʼ, an adaption of W.A.Mozart ‚Magical Fluteʼ in 1992. For more than 15 years they performed this program in numerous concerts and festivals in Austria, Germany, Russia and Israel.
Between 1994 and 1997 he recorded and played several tours (Austria, Germany) with the Wayne Darling International Combine Band featuring guitarist Wayne Brasel and drummer Alan Jones. 2002 he recorded with German bassist Achim Tang and his quintet (featuring saxophonist Klaus Gesing, trombonist Robert Bachner and crummer Christian Salfellner. Unfortunately they only played one very succsessful festivaltour through Poland performing in Gdynia, Warsaw, Pulawy and Wroclaw.
In 2004 he re-arranged (together with Austrian pianist / composer Oliver Kent) the music of the viennese producers / composers dZihan & Kamien for their cd-release ‚Fakesʼ (2005). In 2008 he arranged and recorded a 4- part hornsection for the production of singer MADITA, produced by Vlado Dzihan.
From 1989 - 1993 he was part of the faculty of the jazzinstitute of the Anton Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. Since 1993 he is a member of the renowned jazzinstitute of the University of Music in Graz, Austria (KUG). From 1995 - 2004 he was Assistant professor for jazz-saxophone and conducting smallbands, since 2004 he is leading his own class. Besides teaching jazz-saxophone and jazz-flute he is conducting various ensembles including the KUG Saxophone Quartet.
For many years he conducted workshops in several countries and continents: Bolzano (I); Helsinki (Fi) (Sibelius Academy and Polytechnical University); Kassel (D) (SMF); Meran (I); Rotterdam (NL) (Codarts); Salzburg (A) (Landesmusikschulwerk); Tuxtla Gutierrez (Mex) (UNICACH); Viktring (A) (summercourses).