Emmerich Kálmán (October 24, 1882 - October 30, 1953), also known as Imre Kálmán, was a Hungarian composer of operettas.
Kálmán was born in Siófok, on the southern shore of Lake Balaton, Hungary (formerly in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) in a Jewish family. Kálmán had initially intended to become a concert pianist, but because of early-onset arthritis, he instead started focusing on composition. He studied music theory and composition at the National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music (then the Budapest Academy of Music), where he was a fellow student of Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály under Hans Kössler. His early symphonic poems were well-received, although he failed to achieve publication.
However, the popularity of his humorous cabaret songs led him towards the composition of operettas. His first great success was Tatárjárás (the German version is named Ein Herbstmanöver, while the English name is The Gay Hussars) first staged at the Lustspieltheater in Budapest on February 22, 1908. Thereafter he moved to Vienna where he achieved a worldwide fame by composing his operettas Der Zigeunerprimas, Die Csárdásfürstin, Gräfin Mariza, and Die Zirkusprinzessin.
Kálmán and Franz Lehár were the leading composers of what has been called the "Silver Age" of Viennese operetta during the first quarter of the 20th century. He became well-known for his fusion of Viennese waltz with Hungarian csardas. Even so, polyphonically and melodically, Kálmán was a devoted follower of Giacomo Puccini, while in his orchestrational methods he employed principles characteristic of Tchaikovsky's music.
Kálmán left Europe to escape Nazi persecution, settling in California. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1942. He emigrated back to Europe from New York in 1949, settling in Paris, where he died.
Operettas with place and date of first production