Tenor saxophonist Kanoa Kaluhiwa was born in Hawaii, but spent his formative years in Las Cruces, New Mexico. While still a high school student, Kanoa played professionally and was awarded two scholarships to the Eastman School of Music summer Sessions in New York.
Upon graduation from high school, he was awarded a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts where he spent three years studying jazz performance and music theory under various teachers, including George Garzone and Joe Viola.
Subsequently, Kaluhiwa has studied with Dave Liebman(Sax master Class 2002, Stroudsburg, Pa.) Eddie Daniels(Santa FE, NM), Chris Potter(NYC), Kevin Hayes(NYC). He continues to study jazz with Charlie Banaca(Boston, MA) and to explore African rythms through study and performance with Heidi Alina on the Djembe. A fairly new endeavor is his study of the Mbira, a Zimbabwean instrument indigenous to the Shona people. Master musicians Jennifer Kyker and Mike Cox were influential in his Mbira studies. He continues to study Mbira with Alyson Steinman and Joy Shulman.
Since returning to Albuquerque in 1982. Kaluhiwa has performed with a broad array of musicians locally, nationally, and internationally. Musically multifaceted, Kaluhiwa is equally at home with straight ahead jazz, modern jazz and African jazz groups. He has recorded and toured with Ottmar Liebert, and is featured on recordings with Sparx, The Manzanares, Barret Martin, and John Gagan, as well as his own band Soul's Desire.
Additionally, Kanoa teaches and performs at the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque and has standing gigs with Ron Hellman and the Manzanares in Santa Fe, NM. Among the many instruments Kaluhiwa plays are the tenor sax, the piano, the Djembe, and the Mbira. He provides professional music instruction on the saxophone and jazz theory for all instruments at Baum's Music since 2008.