Calliope promotes and preserves traditional and contemporary folk music and its allied arts.
Calliope’s tri-partite mission as presenter, educator, and community-builder has evolved naturally and steadily since our founding in 1976. We continue to evolve as the product of Pittsburgh’s enthusiasm for celebrating the many musical forms and influences that shape the American experience.
Calliope’s first mission is to remain the premier presenter of traditional and roots-based music in Western Pennsylvania. We strive to present performing artists of national and international reputation, to promote and encourage regional performers, and to reward audiences with experiences of music rarely presented elsewhere in our region.
Our second mission is accomplished through the Calliope School of Folk Music, Dance, and Craft, which provides accessible instruction of the highest quality for teaching heritage-based music and craft to adults, teens, and children through classes, workshops, jam sessions, and collaborations with other organizations.
Music is a language through which we speak, learn, create, and come to know our world – engaging individuals of all backgrounds. People of all races and economic backgrounds find common interest in music. Calliope’s third mission is to bring together people from many neighborhoods, ages and ethnicities to experience each other’s music and movement traditions, to trade stories, to forge friendships. Within this mission, Calliope builds community, based on the common ground of shared experiences that engender understanding and respect for each other, each other’s traditions, and our common humanity.
Calliope Mission & Programs
Since 1976, Calliope has been a nonprofit educational and presenting organization that promotes and preserves traditional and contemporary folk music and its allied arts. Calliope programs are unique to western Pennsylvania.
- Calliope Concerts Series – The best national and international folk music talent in a 600-seat concert hall.
- Calliope Roots Cellar Series-The best national and international folk music talent in the intimate, club-like atmosphere of Roots Cellar at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
- Calliope School of Folk Music – Classes taught by the best folk artists in western Pennsylvania.
- Calliope Outreach Programs
- Summer Festivals – Calliope partners with other organizations in support of outdoor festivals, referring national and local talent, and presenting workshops and jam sessions.
- Emerging Legends Concerts – Calliope collaborates with the University of Pittsburgh Library System to present the best in national touring and regional artists at The Cup & Chaucer
- Calliope Folk Song Night – A monthly round-robin session for lovers of folk songs.
- Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle – A monthly gathering of local and regional songwriters.
- Calliope Songwriters Open Stage – Weekly opportunity for songwriters to share their music.
- Calliope Old-time Jam – Monthly jam for old-time music enthusiasts of all skill levels
- Calliope Bluegrass Jam – A monthly jam for bluegrass music enthusiasts of all skill levels
A Brief History of Calliope House
Calliope: The Pittsburgh Folk Music Society originated at the historic Northside home of Bagpipe instructor George Balderose.
Calliope is funded in part by: A.W. Mellon Education and Charitable Trust Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, J. Robert Izod Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation, Allegheny Regional Asset District, The Heinz Endowments, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, University of Pittsburgh Library System, and an anonymous donor. Calliope also thanks the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and Chatham University.