Joseph Caliva, a Philadelphia area native, is a graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a BA in Classical Composition and a MAT in Music Education. At the school, Caliva also studied trombone and voice, most notably performing as a vocalist with the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia in various performances and at such venues as Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, under the batons of legendary conductors Ricardo Muti and Charles Dutoit.
During his time at UofA and after he graduated, Caliva primarily composed vocal works, such as art songs, song cycles, and orchestral works, including a children’s opera based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, The Little Matchgirl, which was mounted and performed at Philadelphia’s Shubert Theater (now the Merriam Theater). Between 1992 and 1998, Caliva was a full-time teacher in elementary and secondary public and private schools, teaching general and choral music. He was able to combine his passions for teaching and composing, using the children’s choirs which he directed, by writing two different youth concept albums, entitled Kids for Life and Peace by Peace, which he also produced and recorded. These were Caliva’s first experiences with writing contemporary music and with recording.
In 1998, Caliva decided to further pursue contemporary songwriting by moving to Nashville, Tennessee. When not writing, he continued to teach music in the public schools and work privately as a vocal coach and musician, playing both guitar and piano for various singers, bands, and recording artists. Combining his experience as a performer, producer, and teacher, Caliva began working with several artists in a management role and as an artist development specialist. While working in this capacity, Caliva also discovered his love and talent for photography and graphic design.
Having a visual arts outlet allowed Caliva to explore new opportunities creatively, eventually opening a photography studio in Philadelphia in 2009, where he specialized in editorial and professional portraits, as well as fine art, lifestyle, and glamour photography. His work has been published in magazines, CD spreads, and ad campaigns. Photography opened the door to videography, and Caliva has filmed and edited various projects, including music videos, live broadcasts, video ads, and more. His graphic design skills also continued to flourish, leading him to work for clients outside of his music consulting endeavors, designing everything from print ads, to web sites, to digital ads, and other media. He continuously tries to push the boundaries of his creative eye, and presently is working on sharpening more traditional visual arts skills, such as drawing and painting.
Despite an already long list of commitments creatively, between 2005 and 2012, Caliva decided to explore his love of live theatre and produced or directed several plays at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theater and South Jersey’s Mainstage Center for the Arts. He sought to present underrepresented works, or old works with new media, or multi-media, incorporated in the productions. Among his stage productions were the plays Tape, by Stephen Belber, Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, and the revised version of The Diary of Anne Frank by Wendy Kesselman, for which Caliva created a video documentary that intertwined with the live action on stage.
Today, Caliva has relocated back to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he is concentrating his studies on contemporary realist drawing, with the goal of eventually moving into painting, sculpture, and exploring other mediums. He also continues to study and practice guitar and piano, and is always looking for ways to improve as an artist and photographer. He still teaches regularly, works with photography, video, and graphic design clients, and works as a music industry career consultant.