Kalev Kuljus

b. June 18, 1975 Tallinn
Member of Association of Estonian Professional Musicians since 2005

Kuljus started his oboe studies at Tallinn Children’s Music School (1985–1990). After graduating from Tallinn Music High School (1990–1993) with Tulike Loorits, he continued at the Estonian Academy of Music (1993–1999) with Heldur Värv, Andres Siitan and Olev Ainomäe. In 1995–1997 he studied at the Lyon National Conservatory, instructed by Jean-Christophe Gayot’ and Guy Laroche and in 1998–2000 at the Music University Karlsruhe with Thomas Indermühle. He has also participated in the master classes of Aale Lindgren, Georg Meerwein, Lajos Lencsés, Hansjörg Schellenberger, Maurice Bourgue, Stefan Schill and Jacques Tys.

Kalev Kuljus has been a winner of several contests, gaining the 1st prizes at the Competition for Estonian Woodwind Players (Tallinn, 1990), the 2nd International Crusell Contest of Oboists (Uusikaupunki, 1999), Junge Podium Musiker (Mannheim, 2000) and the International Prague Spring Festival Competition of Woodwinds (2001), also 4th prize and the honorary title of the Best Oboist at the Pacem in Terris (Bayreuth, 2000). 

Kalev Kuljus has played with the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, NYYD Ensemble, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra (2000–2003, principal of the oboe group) and a number of foreign orchestras and ensembles – München Philharmoniker, Heidelberger Sinfoniker, the Orchestre de Chamber de Lyon, Akademisches Orchester UNI Freiburg, Nordic Symphony Orchestra, Finnish-Estonian Baroque Orchestra, Hortus Musicus Academic Orchestra, ensmble Estonian Baroque Soloists and others. In 2001–2002 Kalev Kuljus was the proncipal guest oboist of Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and 2002–2003 of Berlin Philharmoniker. In 2003–2007  he was the principal guest oboist of Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Since 2003 Kalev Kuljus is the oboe soloist of the NDR Sinfonieorchester. In 20032010 he was first principal guest oboist of the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England and 2004–2008 oboe soloist of the Filharmonica Arturo Toscanini. Since 2009 Kuljus is also guest solo oboist of Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin and Hamburg State Opera, since 2010 guest solo oboist of Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with renowned conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Herbert Blomstedt, Thomas Hengelbrock, Bernard Haitink, Mariss Jansons, Riccardo Muti, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Christoph Eschenbach, Christian Thielemann, Alan Gilbert, Michael Gielen, Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Richard Tognetti, Tõnu Kaljuste, Eri Klas, Neeme Järvi, Paavo Järvi ect.

His later concerts include Usedom Music Festival with NDR Sinfonieorchester under the baton of Neeme Järvi in 2013. The program featured Kuljus as a soloist at Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Oboe Concerto in C major K 314. In 2013 concert of Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra took place at Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. On the program conducted by David Geringas was Johann Christian Bach's Sinfonia concertante F major and Johann Sebastian Bach's Concerto for Oboe d'amore BWV 1055. In 2011 Kuljus was soloist at Estonian National Symphony Orchestra's concert at Estonia Concert Hall, where under the baton of Mikk Murdvee Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto in D major was performed. In 2010 Kuljus performed with Afiinis Festival Orchestra in Japan. The program featured Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn K. 297b.

Kalev Kuljus is also active as a teacher. He has given a number of master classes in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Naha), Taiwan, Brazil (Sao Paulo), Hamburg, China (Beijing) and Estonia. In 2001–2003  Kuljus worked in Tallinn Old Town Music School and in Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (docent). Since 2013 Kulju continues as a docent at Orchesterzentrum NRW.

The repertoire of Kalev Kuljus covers music from Baroque to contemporary music – it includes all the major oboe concerts by Johann Sebastian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, Alessandro Marcello, Tomaso Albinoni, Bohuslav Martinu, Pehr Henrik Nordgren, Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Strauss, Vaughan Williams ect. Many Estonian composers have dedicated their works to Kalev Kuljus such as Mari Vihmand La Question, Helena Tulve Guard, Tõnu Kõrvits Wildflower, La Folia, Wild Birds and Mart Siimer Shadows in the Snow. He has made recordings for Estonian Radio and Finlandia Records.

Kalev Kuljus has been awarded the Annual Prize of the Endowment for Music of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia in 2001 and the V class Order of the White Star of the Republic of Estonia in 2004.

© EMIC 2008
(updated 2014)

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