Founder & Director
A consummate singer/songwriter, teaching artist, and music producer, Pete Kalvert has proven himself to be a galvanizing force for music education as the Founder & Director of Music Ascension. Founded in 1999 upon the belief that our children’s voices deserve to be heard, Music Ascension has produced over 100 CDs featuring the lyrics, music, and artwork of thousands of children throughout the United States and was awarded by the New Jersey Department of Education an Innovations in Special Education Award for 2016. Music Ascension gained national recognition having been awarded the 2017 National Award for Leadership in Special Education by the National Association of Private School Education Centers. The amazing creative output of young people which Pete has helped to cultivate, and its significant impact, was the focus of multiple TEDx talks Pete was invited to present at TEDx Beacon Street in November of 2015 as well as at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC for TEDxEsteeLauderCompanies on April 22, 2016.
Kalvert’s work in education began as a NYC public school music teacher at PS 186 in Queens, NY. He designed and facilitated music residency programs for one of the oldest Arts-in-Education organizations in NYC, ArtsConnection. Kalvert went on to establish Music Ascension’s first program with Project Morry, a not-for-profit youth development organization serving students from the Bronx, NY and Bridgeport, CT. His work has greatly impacted the Special Needs community for more than a decade with year round music programs in six fully accredited New Jersey schools of Special Education. Kalvert has also designed and overseen music programs at some of the most highly regarded residential summer camps in the nation from the Bay Area in California to Maine.
With the success of his work with students, he was asked to expand his reach into the professional arena. Kalvert was asked to design and provide Professional Development trainings at conferences sponsored by ASAH (an organization serving the NJ Special Needs community), the Newark Public Schools Arts Office, the West Orange Central School District, Chapel Hill Academy, Orange and Essex County Child Study Teams, The FedCap School and has served on discussion panels at the American Camp Association’s Tri-State Conference. Pete has also served as a grant reviewer for the Newark Arts Council. His work with Music Ascension has been featured on WBAI’s Wake Up Call, WFUV’s Cityscapes, and was the subject of a documentary film titled Morry’s Song produced by Left Unsaid Films.
As an artist, Pete combines an incisive yet accesible lyricism with a love of rootsy acoustic guitar and blues-influenced grooves to create a sound that is both foot stomping and thought provoking. He has toured throughout the Northeast and has performed extensively throughout New York City at venues including The Living Room, CB’s Gallery, Joe’s Pub, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Bitter End, Makor, Parkside Lounge, The Cutting Room, Kenny’s Backroom, and Coda, among others. His music has been released on Blue Monster Records and Up On In Records and has been heard on KOZT-FM, KPIG-FM, and other independent radio stations.
A graduate of Brown University, Pete continued to study music at SUNY Purchase, SUNY New Paltz, and New York University. Kalvert is a dually Certified Teacher of Music and Teacher of Social Studies by the State of New Jersey. He is a Certified Pro-Tools Operator and worked at Blue Monster Studios in Brooklyn, NY specializing in recording traditional West African music.