A composer, pedagogue, and pianist, Kalaš focused in his compositional work on musical theatre and film.
His output, nonetheless, includes also a number of concert scores within the field of orchestral, chamber, and choral music. Having finished his high school studies, he was accepted to the third year of the Prague Conservatory, where he studied composition under Jaroslav Křička and Josef Bohuslav Foerster. After graduation in 1924 he then continued his studies at the Master School of the Prague Conservatory with Josef Suk, where he graduated in 1928. He also studied the law, and became a Doctor of Laws in 1930.
His pedagogical career is closely connected with the Film Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, where he started teaching film sound and film music in 1948, and where he also assumed managerial positions (dean 1949–1950; vice-dean 1950–1957).
Kalaš held various functions in several musical institutions (between 1954 and 1960 he was the first director of ČHF; also OSA, Dilia). For almost three decades (1925 to 1953) he was the artistic leader of the satirical musical group PSUK (Kocourkov Teachers' Choir). Kalaš also wrote music for this ensemble with whom he performed in public - Kalaš as a pianist - among other venues also at the Red Seven cabaret.
The list of the most famous films with Kalaš's music includes At Home in Kocourkov (U nás v Kocourkově, 1934); School Is The Foundation of Life (Škola základ života, 1938); The Poacher's Foster Daughter (Pytlákova schovanka, 1949); or The Emperor's Baker and the Baker's Emperor (Císařův pekař a Pekařův císař, 1953).
Kalaš's songs that served as a source of inspiration for after-war "pocket-sized" theatres are also noteworthy. Within the scope of musical dramas, it is the operetta The Miller from Granada, op. 76 (Mlynářka z Granady) and the opera The Undefeated (Nepokoření) based on the theme of the Hussite movement that represent Kalaš's best achievements.
In his concert music he drew on the legacy of his teacher Josef Suk. These works include, most notably, the Domažlice Symphony in C minor with men's choir (1928), the symphonic poem The Nightingale and the Rose for flute and orchestra based on Oscar Wilde's short story (1956, revised 1967), and two instrumental concertos (for violoncello from 1949, and for viola from 1950).
Titles for sale:
The Nightingale and the Rose, symphonic poem for Flute and Orchestra
Music for hire - see Complete catalogue