History - Calliope


Since 1976, Calliope has connected music lovers to the wide, broad, deep and diverse world of roots music. It grew from the compulsion of one man, George Balderose, to share the music he loved in concerts at his home, a home he called Calliope House. This informal music series grew into a small non-profit arts group with a great big vision that includes a mission to present, to educate, and to connect people to the richness of our musical heritage.

Now, decades since its start, Calliope continues to do the seemingly impossible: present master musicians making the very best music while also enabling people to make their own. To this day, Calliope remains the premier presenter, educator and community-builder of traditional and roots‐based music in Western PA, presenting performing artists of national and international reputation, rewarding audiences with experiences of music rarely presented elsewhere in our region.

We bring our audiences the best roots music to a variety of settings years before other listeners hear them at for-profit venues.

Support for Calliope is an opportunity to reach 14,000 enthusiastic folk and Americana music patrons. Our performances in our main venues; Carnegie Lecture Hall in Oakland and The Roots Cellar at The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside, attract an audience from well across the tristate area. The Calliope School of Folk Music draws students from as far away as Maryland to participate in our unique class offerings. We have been supporting Calliope-sponsored events hosted by a variety of Pittsburgh venues for many years now including the Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle (Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, Bloomfield), Calliope Bluegrass Jam (The Starlite Lounge, Blawnox) and the notorious Steel City Ukulele Second Sunday Jam (Hambones, Lawrenceville) just to name a few.

We have an incredibly dedicated community with many of our patrons having been with us since our inception nearly 40 years ago, and we continue to attract new faces year after year as we grow with this city and its thriving music scene.

Like many non-profits, Calliope has gotten by on our shoestring budget through the valiant efforts of staff, board, volunteers, and generous donors. Ticket prices alone don’t pay the bills, so if you’d like to see Calliope continue to bring both cutting edge and legendary roots music to Pittsburgh, please consider making a donation or bequest.

Read the full history by George Balderose here.

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